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Woman at Point Zero [Paperback]

Nawal El-Saadawi
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
RRP: £8.99
Price: £6.29 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Book Description

16 Jun 2007
'All the men I did get to know, every single man of them, has filled me with but one desire: to lift my hand and bring it smashing down on his face. But because I am a woman I have never had the courage to lift my hand. And because I am a prostitute, I hid my fear under layers of make-up'.

So begins Firdaus' story, leading to her grimy Cairo prison cell, where she welcomes her death sentence as a relief from her pain and suffering. Born to a peasant family in the Egyptian countryside, Firdaus suffers a childhood of cruelty and neglect. Her passion for education is ignored by her family, and on leaving school she is forced to marry a much older man. Following her escapes from violent relationships, she finally meets Sharifa who tells her that 'A man does not know a woman's value the higher you price yourself the more he will realise what you are really worth' and leads her into a life of prostitution. Desperate and alone, she takes drastic action.

Saadawi's searing indictment of society's brutal treatment of women continues to resonate today. This classic novel has been an inspiration to countless people across the world.

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Woman at Point Zero + Kitchen + Metamorphosis and Other Stories (Penguin Modern Classics)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Zed Books; Second edition (16 Jun 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1842778730
  • ISBN-13: 978-1842778739
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.7 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 18,126 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

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Product Description


'Nawal el Saadawi writes with directness and passion, transforming the systematic brutalisation of peasants and of women in to powerful allegory'
New York Times Book Review

'A dramatic symbolised version of female revolt against the norms of the Arab world'
The Guardian

'It is a remarkable book. Painful, compulsive reading. [..] it is written with such grace and skill as to be on a par with the finest literature of this or any era.
Scott Pack, The Friday Project '

New Internationalist

A powerful indictment of the treatment of women in many parts of the Middle East'
Labour Herald

'Woman at Point Zero should begin the long march towards a realistic and sympathetic portrayal of Arab women'
Middle East International

'A tragic insight into a woman's oppression and downfall.' --Banipal

'A dramatic symbolised version of female revolt against the norms of the Arab world' --The Guardian

'It is a remarkable book. Painful, compulsive reading. I am sure some of you know all about it but for those who don't this short novel, or creative non-fiction as the author describes it, is the story of Fidraus, a prostitute about to be executed for murdering her pimp. Her life is recounted in a little over 100 pages but each one leaves an indelible mark. This is a tale of injustice, inequality and sheer bad luck to rival all those bloody misery memoirs that litter the supermarkets but it is written with such grace and skill as to be on a par with the finest literature of this or any era.' --Scott Pack, The Friday Project

About the Author

Nawal El Saadawi is a renowned Egyptian writer, novelist and activist. She has published over 40 books, which have been translated into over 30 languages.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Woman at Point Zero by N.el Saadawi is a book I highly recommend to anyone interested in the situation of women in the Arab world and more.
It is the tragic story of Firdaus who, standing on her own from the very beginning of her life, tries to find justice in a corrupt society. We witness her loveless childhood, marked by mental and physical abuse, follow her to secondary school and view her gliding into prostitution which, sadly enough, seems to be the only way to gain at least financial independence.
When reading and reflecting on Firdaus's life I was fascinated by her strong will and determination to find justice in a hypocrite society, despite from being without any support. Instead of having transformed her into an obedient victim of society, all her negative experiences have turned her into a rather aggressive character who is prepared to fight for her rights.
However, Woman at Point Zero is a book which should not only be read by women. Although at first glance mainly dealing with themes like physical abuse, prostitution and the attempt to gain some hold in life, themes of current importance such as corruption, hypocrisy and the exploitation of a minority can be discovered when looking at it more closely. Anyone who refuses to accept whatever life presents without trying to change it will be moved by the timeless importance of N.el Saadawi's eye-opening story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing 25 Oct 2010
By sah
It has been a long time that a book has capture me as much as this one. I couldn't put it down! Nawal is an amazingly courageous women if only there were more people like her in this world! Her voice is very powerful and the story becomes very real. Her hardship that she has endured can be felt in the way she writes. This is a book for everyone regardless of who you are, what you do and what type of books you normally read. I highly recommend this book! Enjoy
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read 5 Aug 2010
This was the first book I read by Nawal El Saadawi, and I thought it was great. A strong character and captivating story line. It prompted me to read some of her other books.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply amazing! 6 Dec 2002
By A Customer
Dr.El Saadawi manages to capture the reader's imagination and awaken their spirit with a novel that deals with issues that often go untold. Few novels have been so beautifully written in a manner so forthright and comprehensible.
I think the world could benefit from a healthy dose of the 'savage truth'..perhaps we wouldn't have half the problems we do now.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 14 July 2014
By Lorelle
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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4.0 out of 5 stars Truth within a few pages... 16 Nov 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I really liked this book! :) and I recomend everyone to read it... The stories or scenarios we hear is horrible, you sit there and keep wishing for something good to happen. Buti in all the horrible incidents it also gives you so much, it is an eye opener!
When you first get into it you won't be able to put it down!
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