Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2011-09-19
- Reviewer: Staff
The latest from El Saadawi (Woman at Point Zero), seamlessly translated by Nowaira, will haunt readers with its beautiful prose and harsh depiction of women's lives in Cairo. Flowing from present into past, reality into dreams, and between the stories of mother and daughters, El Saadwai explores the unequal roles of women and men in Egyptian society. Successful literary critic Boudour is writing a novel about circumstances that made her abandon an infant, Zeina, when she was a young college student. Later, Boudour married and raised another daughter, Mageeda, a successful writer who feels curiosity and jealousy toward Zeina, now a musical phenomenon. As Boudour tries to rewrite her life and recover her stolen novel, men repeatedly betray her and the other female characters; El Saadawi quotes at length from the Qur'an to illustrate the entrenched nature of this behavior. The shifting time line will keep readers guessing as to what happens next, and what is real versus imagined. (Sept.)