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The Holy Woman Kindle Edition
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More About the Author
Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Qaisra Shahraz is a prize-winning and critically acclaimed novelist and scriptwriter. Born in Pakistan, she has lived in Manchester (UK) since childhood and gained two Masters Degrees in English & European literature and scriptwriting for television. Being a highly successful and achieving woman on an international scale, Qaisra was recognised as being one of 100 influential Pakistani women in Pakistan Power 100 List (2012). She is a Director of Asia Pacific Writers and Translators partnership.
Her novels, The Holy Woman, Typhoon and Revolt are translated into several languages including in Mandarin. The Holy Woman (2001) won the Golden Jubilee Award, was 'Best Book of the Month' at Waterstones and has become a bestseller in Indonesia and Turkey. Her first collection of stories "A Pair of Jeans & Other Stories" includes stories written over 25 years.
She has appeared in many international writers' festivals and book fairs including in Ubud, Makassar, Abu Dhabi, Ottawa, Jaipur, Philadelphia and Beijing. Her award-winning drama serial 'Dil Hee To Hai' was broadcast on Pakistani Television in 2003.Several of her prize-winning short stories are published in the UK and abroad. Her work including her first story "A Pair of Jeans" is being studied in schools and Universities. A critical analysis of her works has been done in a book entitled The Holy and the Unholy: Critical Essays on Qaisra Shahraz's Fiction (2011). She has co-authored a literary textbook with Rudolf Rau entitled, "Emerging India" for German teachers. She is working on her latest novel set in Morocco and a new collection of short stories.
Qaisra Shahraz has enjoyed another successful career in education as an Ofsted inspector, a quality manager, consultant and teacher trainer, including working under the auspices of the British Council. She is a trustee of Manchester Multi Faith Centre, Vice Chair of Faith Network 4 Manchester and Executive Member of Muslim Jewish Forum. She currently devotes a lot of her time and energies to interfaith activities to promote messages of tolerance, peace and community cohesion in the UK and abroad through her literary tours.
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Top Customer Reviews
Shahraz’ story starts off with romance in the air. Zarri Bano, university educated, rich, beautiful, modern to the core of her coloured nails. In comes Sikandar, the dashing city bred hero of romantic dreams. It was to be a marriage made in heaven, save the jealousy of the heroine's father. Zarri Bano’s only brother dies in a riding accident and her marriage is called off as she is destined to become the ‘holy woman’, to be denied a husband, children, love, everything that would go to make the book a nice juicy romance ending in a 'lived happily ever after scenario’. Thereafter it was the commonality, the universality of human experience that she sought to unfurl.
Shahraz’s courage of conviction is infectious. Where Zarri Bano the main protagonist of a romantic horror is beautiful, glamorous and a feminist at that, forcefully agrees to succumb to feudal tradition she also emerges as the winner. It is this journey from a pure romantic to the prototype of the Muslim woman whose actions have a reasoning methodology that makes for the substance of The holy woman.
She reconstructs the original Islamic sensibility, freeing it from traditional patriarchy. So on the one hand is a heroine who admits to being, like her female peers, “a bead in a tapestry that our fathers and elders weave”. At the other end of the spectrum she emerges as the final victor capable of retaliating with conviction to the inquisitive English journalist's empathy. “Don't you feel oppressed by this (veil)?” Zarri Bano answers back, “We are not freaks. We are women who like to dress modestly. Please treat us with respect.”
When tragedy strikes her wealthy family, Zarri-Bano's life is turned suddenly upside down, as she is obliged by the duty she feels towards her father to obey his will, and adopt a life of religious devotion. This sassy, feisty, modern woman turns her back on the man she has fallen in love with, pulls a Burqa over her head, and immerses herself completely in the ancient role of 'holy woman'. The story charts her struggle to come to terms with the new life she has chosen to lead, and the effect this has on the men who decreed it, and her mother, who abhors it, but feels powerless to resist.
The characters are without exception 3 dimensional and full of life. Both the men and the women are flawed, and we see them all at their worst and at their best. The strong sense of honour and duty that rules their lives is fascinating, as is the important ideal of female modesty, which is totally alien to us in 21st century Britain.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It would have been a good story for me but too many things I did not understand. I enjoy reading about life in other countries but this one I did not finish.Published 24 days ago by Bluebell
The Holy Woman by Qaisra Shahraz
Observing how Saudi style fundamentalist Islamism is not only increasingly poisoning the Muslim world but through Saudi co-sponsored terrorism... Read more
Wow, a amazing book all about our culture, traditions and families. This is the thirst ever book I have read of Qaisra Sharaz and I have not been able to put it down.Published 5 months ago by Teri Khan
Written with humouring, heart aching and heartwarming moments. Truly couldn't put it down..now I shall sleep :) :) :) xPublished 5 months ago by nas
I loved this book. It was a good story and the religious context added a different level.Published 5 months ago by Barbara Martin
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