Just the title and cover art--aren't you already hooked? I spotted it a few months ago on the new book shelf, and I finally checked it out last week. Quite good.
Abeeda is a Muslim mother living in South Africa. Left by her husband years ago when she was pregnant with her fourth son, she has since learned to be tough, using her sharp wits and her culinary skills in order to support her family. Now that her children are grown, she has started to venture outside the domestic sphere and she soon ends up at the local casino. As her youngest son battles AIDS and Abeeda's sister struggles with breast cancer, Abeeda escapes into her gambling. Deeper and deeper into debt she gets until she has even borrowed from her household maid.
Chapters in the book are devoted to the earlier history of Abeeda's greatest love and loss of her life, and the whole package is wrapped together in a tight plotline that reads quickly without becoming sloppy or cliched.
It was developed into a movie last year with the author working both as the screenwriter and actress. Apparently the project was a letdown, which is unfortunate. As I was reading this, I could imagine it playing out well on the big screen.