For my last book review of the year I’m delighted to welcome you to my stop on the blog tour for heart wrenching debut novel A Woman Is No Man by Etaf Rum. Thank you to Jess from HQ for giving me the opportunity to read and review this beautiful book.
About the book:
Three generations of Palestine – American women living in Brooklyn are torn between individual desire and the strict mores of Arab culture in this heart wrenching story of love, intrigue and courage.
Palestine, 1990. Seventeen – year old Isra prefers reading books to entertaining the suitors her father has chosen for her. Over the course of a week, the naïve and dreamy girl finds herself quickly betrothed and married, and is soon living in Brooklyn. There Isra struggles to adapt to the expectations of her oppressive mother-in-law Fareeda and strange new husband Adam, a pressure that intensifies as she begins to have children – four daughters instead of the sons Fareeda tells Isra she must bear.
Brooklyn, 2008. Eighteen-year-old Deya, Isra’s oldest daughter, must meet potential husbands at her grandmother Fareeda’s insistence, though her only desire is to go to college. Deya can’t help but wonder if her options would have been different had her parents survived the car crash that killed them when Deya was only eight. But her grandmother is firm on the matter: the only way to secure a worthy future for Deya is through marriage to the right man.
But fate has a will of its own, and soon Deya will find herself on an unexpected path that leads her to shocking truths about her family – knowledge that will force her to question everything she thought she knew about her parents, the past, and her own future.
Set in an America at once foreign to many and staggeringly close at hand, A Woman Is No Man is a story of culture and honour, secrets and betrayals, love and violence. It is an intimate glimpse into a controlling and closed cultural world, and a universal tale about family and the ways silence and shame can destroy those we have sworn to protect.
About the author:
Etaf Rum was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, by Palestinian immigrants. She teaches college English literature in North Carolina, where she lives with her two children.
A Woman Is No Man is her first novel.
A Woman Is No Man by Etaf Rum is an impressive and moving debut novel that will stay with me for a long time to come. It tells the story of three generations of Palestine–American women living in Brooklyn, who are torn between individual desire and the strict confines of Arab culture. It is a heart wrenching story of love, intrigue and courage that kept me captivated from beginning to end.
Told from the perspectives of Fareeda, Isra and Deya and spanning a time period from 1990 to 2008, this is a novel that highlights the roles of women within the Palestinian community. It isn’t an easy read by any means as it deals with difficult topics such as domestic violence and oppression, but the writing is beautiful and the characters interesting and relatable, making it a page turner of a book that once started you do not want to put down.
The isolation and vulnerability of the women is palpable as you move through the book, opening your eyes to issues that really do make you think. In my opinion this is an important story that needed to be told and is eloquently portrayed by this very talented new author.
A Woman Is No Man is a compelling and moving read that I would thoroughly recommend. I feel privileged to have been given the opportunity to read and review this beautiful and moving book.
A Woman Is No Man is available to buy now: Amazon UK
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