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LEILA I


Twelve year old Leila knows little more of the world than the view from her family’s mud-brick hut on the steep slopes of the Atlas Mountains. Her greatest hope is to marry the son of the village shopkeeper, to bear his children and to live like all the women who came before her.


Leila’s dreams are destroyed in one night when three strangers take her in payment for her father’s debts. Thus begins her long journey into silence: the silence of a child sold to a brothel in a distant city. The silence of a young woman passed on to a judge who exploits her as his servant. The silence of a barely literate woman who suffers years of rape, beatings and hunger.


Leila survives by clinging to memories of her mountain village and the love of her mother. When she meets two educated sisters who are determined to improve women’s lives she gains her first glimmering of hope — and the courage to take her freedom. After a harrowing escape she slowly reclaims her life through the love of a family facing their own search for healing. Set in modern-day Morocco, Leila: The Weighted Silence of Memory is a journey of rebirth and a testament of one woman’s struggle to find meaning in her own humanity.