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My Name is Salma Hardcover – 7 May 2007


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday (7 May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 038561098X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385610988
  • Product Dimensions: 14.6 x 22 x 2.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 683,293 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Fadia Faqir is the author of four novels: Nisanit, Pillars of Salt, My Name is Salma and Willow Trees Don't Weep. She was born in Amman, Jordan, and moved to Britain in 1984. Her work was published in nineteen countries and translated into fifteen languages.In 1989, the University of East Anglia awarded her the first Ph.D. in Critical and Creative Writing.She currently holds a writing fellowship at St Aidan's College, Durham University, where she teaches creative writing.
She often writes on issues of gender, identity, and culture.
Faqir divides her time between Durham, London and Amman.

For public engagements please visit: http://www.fadiafaqir.com/Events.html



Product Description

Review

Told in the first person, the discontinuous narrative of Salma's life is as well constructed as a mosaic in which each tile is lovely in itself but helps to create a whole that is breathtaking. As Salma's life moves toward its inevitable climax, readers will be transfixed. Strongly recommended for all literary collections.
-- Andrea Kempf, The Library Journal --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

As contemporary as today's headlines and as timeless as love and hate - a young Muslim asylum-seeker in England runs from a brother who wants to commit honour killing --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By K. Ormiston on 10 Mar. 2011
Format: Paperback
Although it is some time since I read this book, the character of Salma has stayed with me long after I closed the final page. Other reviewers have talked about the plot and potential weaknesses in the story but what predominantly has stayed with me is the irreparable damage done to Salma and the ripple effect of pain and sorrow that this causes.
The trauma of separation and divided loyalties that her mother had to live with, her own separation from her homeland and daughter and then the choice she feels compelled to make.
Throughout the book I questioned how rationally Salma was thinking (difficult no doubt given her situation)and this came to a crescendo towards the end of the book when she doesn't seem to be able to see the catastrophic effect her actions will have on John and Imran.
So it is not only Salma whose voice continues to haunt me but those too of Imran and John - all three of them victims to a circumstance outside of their control and caused by a system of 'honour codes' imposed by others.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sofia on 2 July 2010
Format: Hardcover
First of all, if you have read the blurb on the inside of the dust jacket, you needn't read the book as this summarises the story completely, bar the action of the final page. It's a great shame that the publishers felt the need to do this as it detracts hugely from the narrative tension if 280 pages in, you still know what's coming up. Hopefully, the paperback edition will correct this.

"My Name is Salma" is a novel predominantly about women and the clash between the modern Western view of women's rights and the traditional honour-bound Bedouin value system. Set between the Levant and Exeter, the Salma of the title, is a young woman running for her life after becoming pregnant out of wedlock and dishonouring her family and her tribe. Through a series of under-explained events, Salma ends up in Exeter trying to forge a new life with a new identity.

Faqir wrestles with some big and noble themes here - women, feminism, sexism, migrant dislocation, racism, alcoholism, religious hypocrisy and identity to name but a few - and by blending real time with memory, she creates a woman who remains very much a prisoner of her past no matter how much physical distance she covers. All of this is interesting and adds to the literature that chronicles the immigrant experience. However, Faqir is so involved with her themes, with her downtrodden, Bedouin victim that she fails to create a genuinely coherent story. The action hops around between past and present but as the novel progresses, the leaps through time become increasingly erratic leaving significant events in Salma's life underdeveloped and under-explained. It feels as if Faqir became so involved in her portrait of the isolated broken woman that she lost interest in the story.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Yousef M. I. Awad on 2 Jun. 2007
Format: Hardcover
In her third novel, Fadia Faqir explores the themes of double consciousness and displacement in the postcolonial era. My Name is Salma is also an investigation of a Levantine's cross-cultural experience. Faqir foregrounds a minor incident from her previous novel Pillars of Salt to build her new novel. Salma gets pregnant out of wedlock and is consequently taken into prison as a protective measure to prevent her family from killing her. Salma gives birth to a baby girl who is instantly taken away from her. With the help of a Lebanese nun, she is adopted by an English nun and given the British nationality.

In the UK, the patriarchal oppression Salma has experienced in the Levant takes a new shape. As Faqir describes herself in "Stories from the House of Songs," Salma becomes "a hyprid, forever assessing, evaluating, accommodating" (53). In more than one occasion, she emphasizes her unworthiness, slamming herself as a "trash" (18). Elsewhere, she says "I deserve to be mocked, beaten, even killed" (38). Her sense of fragmentation becomes even a part of her daily life: she tells Parvin in their first encounter that she has several names "'Many names I. Salma and Sal and Sally'" (91); she perceives herself as "a sinner pretending to be Muslim, but was really an infidel, who would never be allowed to enter the mosque" (41). She expresses her alienation from the Exeter society by her inability to digest cream tea; the city's famous offering (20).

Salma is in a constant psychological abyss, believing that "[i]f she kept silent, [she] would slip slowly out of [her] like a snake shedding her old skin" (52).
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