[Epub] ➛ Women of Sand and Myrrh Author Hanan Al-Shaykh – Transportjobsite.co.uk

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10 thoughts on “Women of Sand and Myrrh

  1. says:

    The first time he asked how to say good morning in English and American and found they were the same, he exclaimed in surprise, Praise the Lord They re the same as each other inside and out Whenever I see a book by a woman of color with a super low rating and or reviews littered all over with a variation on the theme of didn t like the characters main reason for not liking the book , I sigh and crack my fingers and pull on my gloves More often than not this didn t like the characters business translates to didn t understand the book , and since the author s neither white nor male she doesn t get the benefit of the doubt of oh I didn t understand so the fault must be with me and the book will still get a shiny high rating , bending the sentiment of Catholic guilt into such an impressive cross categorization of peer pressured faith that it s as much a marvel as it is a goddamn annoyance Seriously, though What s not to like about the characters What could possibly sideline that unspoken taboo of not shitting on a book cause the main character s a rapist murderer pedophile accomplice of genocide midlife crisis white boy with a penchant for boundary violation and really pitiful attempts at philosophy You tell me.The front cover says The Handmaid s Tale, which is associative in one sense and really insulting in a important other A review on this site compares this to Woolf, which I have to thank both for my moment of Aha and the resulting fruitful pursuit See, the narrative viewpoint in this is super super close first person that switches enough to keep one on one s claustrophobic toes, sidewinding through each character in such a way that jostles complicatedly enough against sociopolitical anathema for extremely complex discussion I m probably forgetting some main academic tenet or another, but a great deal of Modernism in the likes of Loy and co felt akin to that same breed solipsistic yet glancing, covert yet nakedly revealing, plotless yet so entrenched in the train of one at a time self reflecting minds that it s nigh impossible to look away Add in the unnamed desert state most likely Saudi Arabia , characters that have no time for pandering to reader s views of nice when there s flesh and blood to live out, and a culture clash that the further one gets one will begin to make sense of whether they like it or not, and you get this modern psychological thing that s about as centered around feminism as The Golden Notebook.I originally started reading this so as to counterbalance the happy go lucky archetypes that show up without fail in nearly every one of the The Arabian Nights There s some of that, as well masculine romanticism succumbing to the late 20th century realities of STDs, sexual awakenings of the queer variety counterbalanced with mental stagnancy to the extreme, whatever the phile term is for the Middle East when it comes to white US women escaping their issues with suburbia, and some really strong overtones of Rebecca in the last parts Not the unnamed second wife, mind you The one who wouldn t play by the rules and, here in this novel, is hellbent on staying alive and kicking for however long it takes to get what she wants Dislike the first person pov characters all you like, but I can easily imagine all of them skateboarding in a burqa towards their intended destination One of them may come to this conclusion by the tenets of Islam, another by memories of the land of Tony Hawk, but it s not as simple as an Arab woman surmounts oppression headline It never is, of course, but this really drives it home.I wonder if some readers didn t like this cause they ve nursed fantasies of what it would be like to be female and obscenely rich in the land the pages of this book describe Or maybe they expected a single tone of stoic endurance or Oriental escapade instead of bits of humor and pieces of overwhelming horror and a psychological immersion that never ever quits Ah well Whatever the case, this is very much a modern novel, where the Itches That Must Not Be Scratched are scratched, the results of said scratching are recoiled from in favor of social conformation, and the scratcher lives long enough to repeat ad nauseam Thank god for politics and the Internet, amiright I pictured myself sitting in front of the television explaining to Batul and my aunt and my mother what was really going on in the foreign films the woman whom Mr Rochester kept shut away in Jane Eyre was his mad wife, not his mother.


  2. says:

    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 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 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.For reviews visit


  3. says:

    The lives of four women intertwine in this unknown desert state somewhere in the middle east The author s colloquial use of language and metaphors gives the novel a post modern feel The author gives voices to four women from various socioeconomic classes The issues addressed varies from what today s society would call archaic or pedantic the contrasting nature of complexities the women face makes up the overarching arc Understanding the clash of modernism and culture is these parts of the world is necessary for a better appreciation of the novel The everyday stories of women isn t all that different and it somehow drastically is Be it sexual diversity or economic freedom, women have to claw the walls to make a superficial dent let alone an everlasting one With these struggles playing in the background, the author picks some and makes her characters face them I, we, need to understand the superficiality of a narrative doesn t necessarily mean the issues don t exist Its just that the characters have chosen not to play it in this space and time.


  4. says:

    So Women of Sand and Myrrh is a better book than most people are giving it credit for, albeit not a fantastic one Read it like a Middle Eastern Virginia Woolf novel, and it makes sense The news here is not that hey, women living in unnamed generic Islamic countries can feel oppressed, but that Hanan Al Shaykh, in 1980 something, was writing such a nuanced account of the very specific ways that female sexuality could be circumscribed and or redirected in such a world The internal focus of the characters mimics the inward looking cultural s of Al Shaykh s setting it s a feature, not a flaw, of her style That said, no, there s not much plot, the pacing is painfully slow and roundabout, and the frustration one feels with the characters doesn t exactly endear them to readers.


  5. says:

    Many of the reviews, I believe, are unfair The English translation was heavily edited The name of the book, and therefore, the meaning of the story was altered Even the order of the perspectives were swapped around This definitely changed our idea of who was the protagonist and who s story we should really be following If this book was read as it is told in its original form, we would have seen it as Al Shaykh intended This story is very important for Middle Eastern feminism, identity, and sexuality, and I hold it as a very important book to women all across the globe.


  6. says:

    I cant believe they edited the English version of this book for marketing purposes, this is like when Arab translators edit Simon De Beauvoir books claiming its too hard for us to understand this rating is for the english version, the original book is 4.5 stars.


  7. says:

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  8. says:

    1988 .


  9. says:

    revelatory, 4 women who live life behind the veil , so much boredom, so much pain, so must thwarted desire, so much pent up emotion.found the book very sad.


  10. says:

    Good concept poor execution Four disparate Middle Eastren women who know or know of each other tell their stories about women s lives in a fundamentalist male dominated society Each woman s story adds another POV to what s going on with all the other characters I thought it would be an interesting approach to first person narrative The idea, I assume, was to give the reader a view of each character from internal and external POVs Unfortunately, the writer failed to deliver The narrative voice is the same for each woman in spite of their different socioeconomic classes, education levels and experiences it became difficult in some places to remember which character was telling the story Toss in one dimensional male characters, massive doses of angst, overblown descriptions of wealth, dull and resentful descriptions of sex primary as a means of control and not always by men , and the whole thing became a snooze fest I m not into angst, so this did nothing for me I did finish the book, but it was because I kept hoping it would redeem itself than out of any real interest.


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