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Sad, but important book
on 1 January 2010
Read this book when you are feeling strong, as it is a very heavy read indeed. But it is an important one, as it must be one of the very first published works by a Muslim woman detailing the problems women faced at the time, and perhaps still face. It deals with difficult and prevalent issues such as incest, prositution, domestic abuse and corruption, as well as the brutality the women in the Arab world suffer at the hands of their fathers and husbands.
I feel like the troubles Firdaus goes through are somewhat exaggarated, as she does not come accross a single person who does not abuse her or hurt her in some way, and the pain and trauma are relentless. Every man is a predator, which I find hard to believe it actually true - Even in the Arab world I am sure there are men who do not beat their wives? But perhaps it was necessary to not tone the suffering down, the author had some important things to say and I am sure most women can identify with different elements of Firdaus' struggles.
There is a dreamy undercurrent in the brutal narration, where images such as eyes and drowning reappear throughout, creating a feeling of destiny and hinting at an elusive force stronger than men and the world they have built around themselves. I can't help feeling, though, that some of the poetic and atmospheric nature of this book was lost in the translation from Arabic to English, as it sometimes seems a little stilted and clumsy.