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Books/book club

Women in Muslim countries - has anybody else read these?

(30 Posts)
gracesmum Wed 08-May-13 15:40:37

Can I recommend 3 books by Zoe Ferraris which had an quite an impact on me recently. They are brilliant "who dunnits" but more than that, they show the complexities of women's lives in Muslim countries such as Saudi, UAE etc. Set in Jedda the protagonists typify the ambivalent attitudes towards women and the frustrations of an educated woman trying to work in a man's world. The awful plight of immigrant workers who are treated worse than slaves also features in the 3rd book.They are Night of the Mi'raj, City of Veils and * Kingdom of Strangers*. I cannot recommend them too highly!!!

numberplease Wed 08-May-13 16:42:10

Thank you for the recommendation Gracesmum, I`ll look out for them.

BAnanas Wed 08-May-13 17:19:35

I read City of Veils a while back gracesmum, yes it was good. Another book I read a long time ago now and which also gave an insight into life in Saudi Arabia, by Hilary Mantel before she became such a high profile writer, and was called something like 8 months on Ghazza Street, remember thinking it was good.

numberplease Wed 08-May-13 21:41:30

Gracesmum, do they need to be read in the order in which they were written? If so, which was first, please?

gracesmum Wed 08-May-13 22:04:55

They don't have to be read in order but there is a thread which follows through in the relationship between the protagonists. I have listed them in order. Hope I haven't "bigged" them up too much and anybody is disappointed! I certainly found them hard to put down and as soon as I had read the first I was downloading the next two!!

j08 Wed 08-May-13 22:18:39

I just bought the first one for 1p on Amazon Marketplace, so only £2.81 q
with p and p! smile

Thanks gm.

susieb755 Wed 08-May-13 22:47:18

Holding Up Half The Sky is a very good non fiction book about the plight of women in developing conutries

annodomini Wed 08-May-13 22:49:41

I liked your recommendation of the Shetland books, so will trust you on this one, Gracesmum. smile

Stansgran Sat 18-May-13 23:02:56

They are all good. Plenty of insights into a way of life which is a closed book. Also the Ozzie who wrote March and several others I love wrote about lives of women when her husband was posted there. Well worth hunting out.(Geraldine something)

Stansgran Sat 18-May-13 23:05:33

Geraldine brooks who also wrote The People of the Book

Stansgran Sat 18-May-13 23:06:40

I am avoiding Eurovision. Low embarrassment threshold.

Eloethan Sat 18-May-13 23:15:21

Bananas Some years ago I also read Hilary Mantel's "Eight Months on Ghazza Street". I found it very gripping - and quite frightening. Although it's a novel, it was based on her experience of living in Jeddah.

Stansgran Sat 18-May-13 23:40:57

I think many of her earlier books are far better quality than wolf hall or bring up the bodies. Possibly because they are shorter.

TripFiction Mon 22-Jul-13 09:19:57

These books are great to conjure up flavour and culture. Hilary Mantel's book is a good read too. I remember reading "Not without my Daughter" by Betty Mahmoody which had me gripped.

Greatnan Mon 22-Jul-13 09:42:58

Thanks for the recommendation, Gracesmum - I don't have a kindle, but I will order them on Amazon, even though I know they will enrage me.
My eldest grandson worked in Dubai for a year and he was horrified by the way the young Westerners treated their domestic staff and their total ignorance of the conditions of the migrant workers.

annodomini Mon 22-Jul-13 10:25:42

On your recommendation, G'mum, I read all three of Zoe Ferraris' books in the right sequence and found them riveting and informative. It is a revoltingly patriarchal society and yet there appeared to be some glimmers of revolt among the female characters and some of the men appeared to be cautiously sympathetic. I prescribed City of Veils for my book group and hope they have enjoyed it. I would have preferred the Night of the Mi'raj but for some reason the Cheshire Libraries catalogue didn't show very many copies.

Stansgran Mon 22-Jul-13 18:19:47

I've just read a book by Kishwar Desai about a young girl accused of murdering her whole family. It is written by someone who has a blog which comments on women and politics in India and about the plight of daughters in the subcontinent. I it was a good read but grim yet hopeful.
I wish Zoe Ferraris would get on with another book.

granjura Mon 22-Jul-13 18:30:21

We must not forget that immigrant workers and slaves are also, still, abused by non muslim families, and that many muslim women are treated as equals.

My OH's grand-mother was an Indonesian (Malay) slave in Cape Town in the at the turn of last century- and the apartheid system is VERY recent. My nieces and nephews and their children are devout Muslims in SA, very well educated, do not wear any special clothing and totally free. The eldest has done the Hadj with her mother and now chooses to wear a modern and colourful head covering. Her choice entirely.

TripFiction Wed 28-Aug-13 13:20:34

Zoe Ferraris writes such great books, doesn't she? I recently read Sharaf by Raj Kumar, which was depressingly interesting, and many years ago 'Not without my daughter', also gripping and so sad. So I decided to put together some novels, about women in Muslim Countries - Saudi, in this case - I don't know if that might be of interest to this thread...

Joan Wed 28-Aug-13 13:33:41

The treatment of women in these countries saddens and enrages me. I simply find all the true stories make me dreadfully unhappy, and they deepen my disgust with religion, especially anything fundamentalist.

I want to scream at them to celebrate life, this life, because there isn't another. I want to yell at the men that their bollocks won't drop off if they start to treat their women with dignity and respect (and do their share in the home)

I want to yell at burkah/niqab covered women to bloody grow up and get some air to their skin. They need to vitamin D from sunlight, and no-one's going to lust ofter them for removing the veil.

But I just sigh to myself and ignore them. Because to do or say anything would demean me, and make no difference to them: the brainwashing is religion-backed with cultural imperatives thrown in.

I do sign any petitions that come my way, to save a young rape victim for being lashed for adultery, for example.


Lilygran Wed 28-Aug-13 13:38:22

Frogs in a Well (Patricia Jeffrey) came out about 30 years ago but is a very good study of purdah life.

Lilygran Wed 28-Aug-13 13:40:20

Should have said, thanks for the recommendation, Gracesmum. I'm off to Amazon!

nanaej Wed 28-Aug-13 14:08:36

Worth trying to see the new film Wajda. Women should support it as it breaks so many moulds but I fear it won't get much play time in cinemas.

Stansgran Wed 28-Aug-13 19:20:29

I do bang on about Afghanistan, where God only goes to weep. It's a translation but worth googling.

Stansgran Wed 28-Aug-13 19:22:01

Siba Shakib where god only comes to weep.