Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Women of Sand and Myrrh - #47

Image sourced from here
It took me a while to pin down my feelings for this book. It raises so many, it was really hard to wade through them all and work out what I thought of the book as a whole.

The book is 4 intertwining stories about 4 different women within a very strict, restrictive Islamic society within the Middle East. The best I can find is Saudi Arabia is probably the closest with these restrictions. I loved that this was from the women's perspective which gave us an insight into a world half of us would never see.

The book is split into 4 parts, each part with a different woman telling their story. The women pop up in other women's stories as they are all connected but your perspective is changing throughout the book. We have Suha from Lebanon who's husband has a contract in this country and they have moved there for him to work for a while. Tamr, who is the daughter of a sheikh and his concubine from Turkey, but is a native to this 'country' and a student of Suha's at the local womens' TAFE. Suzanne, an American housewife who again's husband has a contract in this country, yet she finds all men find her exotic and desirable in this country and never wants to leave. And Nur, who is incredibly spoiled by her very wealthy husband, but there is so much more to that relationship.

Some of these women I completely empathised with. Some I was appalled with. But I understood most of them. They were all products of this restrictive society. And it made me so glad that I could drive and go where I wanted, when I wanted, without a man, I can work, I can be educated, I can leave my house without a man I'm related or married to, I can wear what I like and so much more. It was one of those books that immersed you in were you were and I think that's really important, as so many of us write off these places. We don't think about them. We know about them but we don't think about them, as they make us angry and so it's easier not to. And we forget the women within them.

It's important to remember.

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