The Story of Zahra MOBI ¾ The Story PDF/EPUB or

The Story of Zahra MOBI ¾ The Story PDF/EPUB or


The Story of Zahra ❴Reading❵ ➿ The Story of Zahra Author Hanan Al-Shaykh – Larringtonlifecoaching.co.uk Zahra s mother uses her as a cover for her meetings with a lover Zahra s strict father mistreats her for being complicit in her mother s affair Fleeing from Beirut in search of solace, Zahra stays wit Zahra s mother uses her as a cover for her meetings with a lover Zahra s strict father mistreats her for being complicit in her mother s affair Fleeing from Beirut in search of solace, Zahra stays with her uncle in West Africa and then uses marriage as another kind of escape Back in Beirut, love finally The Story PDF/EPUB or comes to her, but with terrible consequences Banned in several Middle Eastern countries since its original publication, The Story of Zahra is an intoxicating, provocative story of a young woman s coming of age in a city torn apart by warWith than , copies in print of Women Of Sand And Myrrh, and than , copies of The Story Of Zahra, Hanan al Shaykh is the best known and most admired woman writer of the Arab world The paperback publication of Zahra will bring this passionate and courageous novel to a much larger group of readers Its haunting story of a young Lebanese woman who attempts to stem the violence in Beirut by initiating a sexual liaison with a sniper has lifted the corner of a dark curtain Sunday Telegraph from a world that fascinates us all The Story of Zahra is a classic by any standards Village Voice Literary Supplement This rich tale mesmerizes with its frank sexuality and scenes of war torn Beirut Publishers Weekly.

    The Story of Zahra MOBI ¾ The Story PDF/EPUB or liaison with a sniper has lifted the corner of a dark curtain Sunday Telegraph from a world that fascinates us all The Story of Zahra is a classic by any standards Village Voice Literary Supplement This rich tale mesmerizes with its frank sexuality and scenes of war torn Beirut Publishers Weekly."/>
  • Paperback
  • 224 pages
  • The Story of Zahra
  • Hanan Al-Shaykh
  • English
  • 08 July 2017
  • 9780385472 Edition Language English Other Editions 17

About the Author: Hanan Al-Shaykh

Hanan Al Shaykh Arabic is a Lebanese journalist, novelist, short story writer, and playwrightAl Shaykh was born into a conservative Shia Muslim family She received her primary education in Beirut, and later she attended the American College for Girls in Cairo Al Shaykh began her journalism career in Egypt before returning to Lebanon She has also lived The Story PDF/EPUB or in Saudi Arabia and is currently residing in LondonHer short stories and novels feature primarily female characters in the face of conservative religious traditions set against the backdrop of political tensions and instability of the Lebanese civil war.



10 thoughts on “The Story of Zahra

  1. aPriL does feral sometimes aPriL does feral sometimes says:

    I thought the novel The Story of Zahra , published in 1980, similar to America s famous novel of a woman who loses her sense of self in the book The Bell Jar The Story of Zahra issharply painful to read because it is goes directly to the point Zahra is very very crazy from the start even as a child Some readers think it is because of her parents her mother used her to disguise a secret sexual affair, and her father was cruel and beat Zahra and her mother over nothing and everything I thought the novel The Story of Zahra , published in 1980, similar to America s famous novel of a woman who loses her sense of self in the book The Bell Jar The Story of Zahra issharply painful to read because it is goes directly to the point Zahra is very very crazy from the start even as a child Some readers think it is because of her parents her mother used her to disguise a secret sexual affair, and her father was cruel and beat Zahra and her mother over nothing and everything Perhaps PTSD Zahra comes from a conservative Shia family is it the strict watchfulness and criticism of her behavior and looks she is plain, and suffers from acne part of the reason for her overreactions Was she one of those people who are born anxious and sensitive, pushed over into near insanity by her environment and culture Zahra does not seem to have internal resources, including education beyond a basic one, or curiosity to understand To me, her defense is to run away from the horrible now whatever it is, as well as an unconscious passive aggression, or maybe a self destructive rage, or maybe all of the above She constantly makes misbegotten choices.The author Hanan al Shaykh is a famous author of stories about the Middle East I think the book s literary nuances went over my head to some degree Much about living in Islamic culture for women appears awful to me generally, a Western woman This novel appears to express and confirm my opinion In any case, there is explicit sex in the book, too I don t know if it is the unmarried sex, the abuse, or Zahra s unhappiness with her life which has caused most Muslim countries to ban this book.Yes, gentle reader This is a banned book The novel takes place in Lebanon and in Egypt just before and during the civil war in Lebanon of 1975 I remember reading about this awful terrible seemingly endless war The war turned Lebanon into a dystopic hell There were so many political and religious factions shooting each other, and then Russia and America, among other outside agitators, mixed into the morass The war would stop, then start again, then stop, then start again, until maybe 1990.I have read the main character, Zahra, is a literary symbol of the seemingly endless civil war in Lebanon If that is true, Zahra definitely is a character who cannot pull out a single purpose, direction or solution to the mystery of who or what she wants maybe like Lebanon at the time But if so, I don t think she is the literary representative of the militias which tore Lebanon apart She seems to methe helpless Lebanese nation itself being symbolically represented as a woman driven mad, if the story indeed has an underlying literary meaning She is Lebanon, the way we use the pronoun she for America Interesting statement for a patriarchal religion and culture.Below are excerpts from Wikipedia Readers too young to know about 1975 Lebanon may find the below bewildering It WAS bewildering The Middle East has been a mess for a long time Maronite Christian militias acquired arms from Romania and Bulgaria as well as from West Germany, Belgium and Israel, and drew supporters from the larger Maronite population in the north of the country, they were generally right wing in their political outlook, and all the major Christian militias were Maronite dominated, and other Christian sects played a secondary role.Initially, the most powerful of the Maronite militias was the National Liberal Party which is also known as Ahrar who were politically led by the legendary president of Lebanon Camille Chamoun and military led by Dany Chamoun who was assassinated in the 1990 , the military wing of the Kataeb Party or Phalangists, which remained under the leadership of the charismatic William Hawi until his death Few years later, the Phalange militia, became under the command of Bachir Gemayel, merged with several minor groups Al Tanzim, Guardians of the Cedars, Lebanese Youth Movement, Tyous Team of Commandos and formed a professional army called the Lebanese Forces LF With the help of Israel, the LF established itself in Maronite dominated strongholds and rapidly transformed from an unorganized and poorly equipped militia into a fearsome army that had now its own armor, artillery, commando units SADM , a small Navy, and a highly advanced Intelligence branch Meanwhile, in the north, the Marada Brigades served as the private militia of the Franjieh family and Zgharta, which became allied with Syria after breaking with the Lebanese Front in 1978 The Lebanese Forces split with the Tigers in 1980 In 1985, under the leadership of Geagea and Hobeika, they split entirely from the Phalangists and other groups to form an independent militia which was the dominant force in most Maronite areas The Tigers Militia was the military wing of the National Liberal Party NLP AHRAR during the Lebanese Civil War The Tigers formed in Saadiyat in 1968, as Noumour Al Ahrar Tigers of the Liberals, , under the leadership of Camille Chamoun Although several Lebanese militias claimed to be secular, most were littlethan vehicles for sectarian interests Still, there existed a number of non religious groups, primarily but not exclusively of the left and or Pan Arab right.Examples of this were the Lebanese Communist Party LCP and theradical and independent Communist Action Organization COA Another notable example was the pan Syrian Syrian Social Nationalist Party SSNP , which promoted the concept of Greater Syria, in contrast to Pan Arab or Lebanese nationalism The SSNP was generally aligned with the Syrian government, although it did not ideologically approve of the Ba athist government however, this has changed recently, under Bashar Al Assad, the SSNP having been allowed to exert political activity in Syria as well The multi confessional SSNP was led by Inaam Raad, a Catholic and Abdallah Saadeh, a Greek Orthodox It was active in North Lebanon Koura and Akkar , West Beirut around Hamra Street , in Mount Lebanon High Metn, Baabda, Aley and Chouf , in South Lebanon Zahrani, Nabatieh, Marjayoun and Hasbaya and the Beqqa Valley Baalbeck, Hermel and Rashaya.Another secular group was the South Lebanon Army SLA , led by Saad Haddad The SLA operated in South Lebanon in co ordination with the Israelis, and worked for the Israeli backed parallel government, called the Government of Free Lebanon The SLA began as a split from the Army of Free Lebanon, a Maronite faction within the Lebanese Army Their initial goal was to be a bulwark against PLO raids and attacks into the Galilee, although they later focused on fighting Hezbollah The officers tended to be Christians with a strong commitment to fighting the SLA s enemies, while most of the ordinary soldiers were Shia Muslims who frequently joined for the wages and were not always committed to the SLA fight against the PLO and Hezbollah The SLA continued to operate after the civil war but collapsed after the Israeli army withdrew from South Lebanon in 2000 Many SLA soldiers fled to Israel, while others were captured in Lebanon and prosecuted for collaboration with Israel and treason.Two competing Ba ath movements were involved in the early stages of the war a nationalist one known as pro Iraqi headed by Abdul Majeed Al Rafei Sunni and Nicola Y Ferzli Greek Orthodox Christian , and a Marxist one known as pro Syrian headed by Assem Qanso Shiite.The Kurdistan Workers Party at the time had training camps in Lebanon, where they received support from the Syrians and the PLO During the Israeli invasion, all PKK units were ordered to fight the Israeli forces Eleven PKK fighters died in the conflict Mahsum Korkmaz was the commander of all PKK forces in Lebanon.The Armenian Marxist Leninist militia ASALA was founded in PLO controlled territory of West Beirut in 1975 This militia was led by revolutionary fighter Monte Melkonian and group founder Hagop Hagopian Closely aligned with the Palestinians, ASALA fought many battles on the side of the Lebanese National Movement and the PLO, most prominently against Israeli forces and their right wing allies during the 1982 phase of the war Melkonian was field commander during these battles, and assisted the PLO in its defense of West Beirut.The Palestinian movement relocated most of its fighting strength to Lebanon at the end of 1970 after being expelled from Jordan in the events known as Black September The umbrella organization, the Palestine Liberation Organization PLO by itself undoubtedly Lebanon s most potent fighting force at the time was littlethan a loose confederation, but its leader, Yassir Arafat, controlled all factions by buying their loyalties.Lesser roles were played by the fractious Palestinian Liberation Front PLF and another split off from the PFLP, the Syrian aligned Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine General Command PFLP GC To complicate things, the Ba athist countries of Syria and Iraq both set up Palestinian puppet organizations within the PLO The as Sa iqa was a Syrian controlled militia, paralleled by the Arab Liberation Front ALF under Iraqi command The Syrian government could also count on the Syrian brigades of the Palestine Liberation Army PLA , formally but not functionally the PLO s regular army Some PLA units sent by Egypt were under Arafat s command.On 22 January 1976, Syrian President Hafez al Assad brokered a truce between the two sides, while covertly beginning to move Syrian troops into Lebanon under the guise of the Palestine Liberation Army in order to bring the PLO back under Syrian influence and prevent the disintegration of Lebanon Despite this, the violence continued to escalate In March 1976, Lebanese President Suleiman Frangieh requested that Syria formally intervene.The small Druze sect, strategically and dangerously seated on the Chouf in central Lebanon, had no natural allies, and so were compelled to put much effort into building alliances Under the leadership of the Jumblatt family, first Kamal Jumblatt the LNM leader and then his son Walid, the Progressive Socialist Party PSP Arabic , al hizb al taqadummi al ishtiraki served as an effective Druze militia, building excellent ties to the Soviet Union mainly, and with Syria upon the withdrawal of Israel to the south of the country However, many Druze in Lebanon at the time were members of the non religious party, the Syrian Social Nationalist Party Under Kamal Jumblatt s leadership, the PSP was a major element in the Lebanese National Movement LNM which supported Lebanon s Arab identity and sympathized with the Palestinians It built a powerful private army, which proved to be one of the strongest in the Lebanese Civil War of 1975 to 1990 It conquered much of Mount Lebanon and the Chouf District Its main adversaries were the Maronite Christian Phalangist militia, and later the Lebanese Forces militia which absorbed the Phalangists The PSP suffered a major setback in 1977, when Kamal Jumblatt was assassinated His son Walid succeeded him as leader of the party.Throughout the spring of 1975, minor clashes in Lebanon had been building up towards all out conflict, with the Lebanese National Movement LNM pitted against the Phalange, and the ever weaker national government wavering between the need to maintain order and cater to its constituency On the morning of 13 April 1975, unidentified gunmen in a speeding car fired on a church in the Christian East Beirut suburb of Ain el Rummaneh, killing four people, including two Maronite Phalangists Hours later, Phalangists led by the Gemayels killed 30 Palestinians traveling in Ain el Rummaneh Citywide clashes erupted in response to this Bus Massacre The Battle of the Hotels began in October 1975, and lasted until March in 1976.On 6 December 1975, a day later known as Black Saturday, the killings of four Phalange members led Phalange to quickly and temporarily set up roadblocks throughout Beirut at which identification cards were inspected for religious affiliation Many Palestinians or Lebanese Muslims passing through the roadblocks were killed immediately Additionally, Phalange members took hostages and attacked Muslims in East Beirut Muslim and Palestinian militias retaliated with force, increasing the total death count to between 200 and 600 civilians and militiamen After this point, all out fighting began between the militias.In a vicious spiral of sectarian violence, civilians were an easy target On 18 January 1976 an estimated 1,000 1,500 people were killed by Maronite forces in the Karantina Massacre, followed two days later by a retaliatory strike on Damour by Palestinian militias These two massacres prompted a mass exodus of Muslims and Christians, as people fearing retribution fled to areas under the control of their own sect The ethnic and religious layout of the residential areas of the capital encouraged this process, and East and West Beirut were increasingly transformed into what was in effect Christian and Muslim Beirut Also, the number of Maronite leftists who had allied with the LNM, and Muslim conservatives with the government, dropped sharply, as the war revealed itself as an utterly sectarian conflict Another effect of the massacres was to bring in Yassir Arafat s well armed Fatah and thereby the Palestine Liberation Organisation on the side of the LNM, as Palestinian sentiment was by now completely hostile to the Maronite forces.The Shi a militias were slow to form and join in the fighting Initially, many Shi a had sympathy for the Palestinians and a few had been drawn to the Lebanese Communist Party, but after 1970s Black September, there was a sudden influx of armed Palestinians to the Shi a areas South Lebanon s population is mainly Shi a and the Palestinians soon set up base there for their attacks against the Israelis The Palestinian movement quickly squandered its influence with the Shi ite, as radical factions ruled by the gun in much of Shi ite inhabited southern Lebanon, where the refugee camps happened to be concentrated, and the mainstream PLO proved either unwilling or unable to rein them in.The Palestinian radicals secularism and behaviour had alienated the traditionalist Shi ite community the Shi a did not want to pay the price for the PLO s rocket attacks from Southern Lebanon The PLO created a state within a state in South Lebanon and this instigated a fury among Lebanon s Shi a, who feared a retaliation from the Israelis to their native land in the South The Shi a predominated in the area of southern Lebanon that in the 1960s became an arena for the Israeli Palestinian conflict.Omg And so on and so on

  2. Jordan Jordan says:

    This book deals with so many issues I don t know where to begin I loved it.In a sense it reminded me of a modern version of The Yellow Wallpaper , a story of a woman driven to madness due to being forced to stay in a room by her husband after having a baby You won t understand Zahra if you don t understand suffering from PTSD, depression, and anxiety In fact, most really don t understand this Americans now pathologize everything, but mental health issues still aren t really understood or tr This book deals with so many issues I don t know where to begin I loved it.In a sense it reminded me of a modern version of The Yellow Wallpaper , a story of a woman driven to madness due to being forced to stay in a room by her husband after having a baby You won t understand Zahra if you don t understand suffering from PTSD, depression, and anxiety In fact, most really don t understand this Americans now pathologize everything, but mental health issues still aren t really understood or treated with respect Zahra doesn t have control over herself This is super important to recognize In addition, it is often a joke in many cultures that women are crazy by nature, but are expected not to act as such One theme we see over and over again is the policing of Zahra s emotions People are always shocked by or mock her for how she responds to life Some even request that she stop or abuse her in response It is also likely this nagging which leads her to madness Zahra experiences what most women do the feeling of inadequacy and shame She is criticized for her clothing, marital status, acne, emotions It is this idea that a woman can t simply BE, but that we must live up to society s expectations We exist for others as objects, as women, but what does being a woman really mean Zahra shows that a woman does not have to be happy, beautiful, and easily understood Above all we are human and muchcomplex than the rigid standards that have been put in place for us

  3. Meg Meg says:

    I would like everything about me to grind to a halt and for me to become like a window through which one looks and through which things are seen to move, while the window itself remains silent and still, observing people come and go I appreciated the depiction of main character Zahra s psyche, but I think this book s structure detracts from the overall whole Divided into two parts,The Story of Zahradoesn t quite fit together for me it feels unbalanced, asymmetrical The first part cI would like everything about me to grind to a halt and for me to become like a window through which one looks and through which things are seen to move, while the window itself remains silent and still, observing people come and go I appreciated the depiction of main character Zahra s psyche, but I think this book s structure detracts from the overall whole Divided into two parts,The Story of Zahradoesn t quite fit together for me it feels unbalanced, asymmetrical The first part concerns Zahra s childhood, an affair she has with an married man, and her marriage in Africa, a place she fled to in hopes of starting anew The second half deals with the war in Lebanon, and her affair with a sniper in Beirut I think the second half was the true core of the book, and could have been expanded so that it formed the majority of the novel The ending it reveals is shocking, vivid And Hanan Al Shaykh portrays the senselessness of war, the surrealism of it, acutelyHow can people forget the nightmare overnight How can they run smiling out of their homes, as though the deaths that happened only the day before occured in some other country Suddenly I shudder as it seems clear to me that everything in our lives is on the verge of the disintegration I ought to refuse to scrub the floor or prepare the food, make the bed or water the plant pots I should let everything in the place die a slow death, and my father and mother would also do better if they stopped eating and living, for why should life continue inside the home when everything outside is collapsing The apartment itself should fall down, too Then it could be seen how war pervades the whole of LebanonI don t know what to do about the first part It was certainly an odd choice to give both Zahra s uncle and Zahra s husband a chapter from their viewpoint, when otherwise the book is concerned wholly with the emotional state and thoughts of Zahra This contributes, I think, to the problems I had with the structure the sense it is unbalanced I did like the nonlinear aspect, the episodes from Zahra s childhood I think all of Zahra s choices have to be viewed through her depression She cycles between self destructive apathy, episodes of recklessness or resignation, outbursts of emotion and pain And she views the war through the logic of depression, which impels her actions or non actions until the book s conclusion view spoiler Her affair with the sniper, the god of death, is her protracted suicide hide spoilerWhen I heard that the battles raged fiercely and every front was an inferno, I felt calm It meant that my perimeters were fixed by these walls, that nothing which my mother hoped for me could find a place inside them The idea of my marrying again was buried deep by the thunder and lightning of the rockets But it was all sick thinking, I would tell myself My deep sleeping was a sickness, my devouring huge quantities of food was a sickness, my increasing weight, my wearing only my housecoat for two months on end were sicknesses The scabs on my face that spread to my neck, to my shoulders, and my not caring about them, were a sickness My silence was a sickness My mother would launch into a tirade whenever she saw me in my housecoat during those two months, but I stayed completely silent My indifference to her anxieties, especially when she tried to get out of me my real reason for divorcing Majed, was also a sickness I will try to read another book by Al Shaykh in the future a different story, framed perhaps in aeffective structure

  4. Anney Anney says:

    It is the mid 1970 s, and while Lebanon is erupting into civil war, Zahra s face is erupting with acne In The Story of Zahra al Shaykh s characters dothan make the political become personal they embody the political The story of Zahra chronicles the journey of a young woman during the Lebanese civil war Her tumultuous childhood and young adulthood involves familial abuse, abortions, travelling to visit an exiled uncle in Africa, a failed marriage, andThe writing is compelling, v It is the mid 1970 s, and while Lebanon is erupting into civil war, Zahra s face is erupting with acne In The Story of Zahra al Shaykh s characters dothan make the political become personal they embody the political The story of Zahra chronicles the journey of a young woman during the Lebanese civil war Her tumultuous childhood and young adulthood involves familial abuse, abortions, travelling to visit an exiled uncle in Africa, a failed marriage, andThe writing is compelling, vivid and tactile Though I am a slow reader I traversed paragraphs and pages with ease, fully present and eager for the plot to unfold Most of the story is told in the first person, Zahra s insights and questions ensure the reader is constantly thinking and questioning, and the musicality of her voice is, at times, pause worthy Early in the text we learn that the narrative point of view may not be as simple or straightforward as we imagined Zahra s witness transcends time and space As the narrative progresses, Zahra s voice matures Our narrator grows to be a calm figure in the eye of the storm This adds another element complexity to the novel, and a unique narrative texture Zahra changes in both subtle and dramatic ways throughout the novel In the beginning, we meet a girl who endures small discomforts and large traumas in silence, while privately longing for her mother s protection Zahra isn t the only character longing for something, and this deep and consuming longing and how that longing is displaced and managed is explored throughout the novel The absurdity of war is vividly depicted through the anguish and confusion felt by Zahra and her family The reader hides with the family in their apartment, sitting next to Zahra, watching her father listen desperately to the radio in hopes of an announcement of cease fire Comprehensive descriptiveness clearly portrays the eerie transformation of peacetime to wartime, like the darkening of the sky before an afternoon August thunderstorm In The Story of Zahra, war is not confined to battlefields but is fully present at the dinner table, in the bathroom mirror, and in bed al Shaykh s writing explores the embodiment of social trauma, while illuminating and writing back to the woman as nation trope What I found most interesting was the exploration of political conflict through bodily landscape Zahra s skin condition worsens to reflect the deepening conflicting and inescapable violence Further, food and feeding are used as expressions of inequality and despair Not only does this lend itself to lively discussion or sizzling analysis, but helped to psychically connect me to the text With a careful attentiveness to Zahra s relationships to autonomy and power, al Shaykh masterfully crafts a rich and layered narrative challenging preexisting notions of confinement and liberation I m glad I read this book, and I know that I will be thinking about it for some time to come Particularly for any feminist and gender scholars, this book is a must read, and I recommend reading it along with a friend, because you will likely feel the need for in depth discussion

  5. Jason Jason says:

    While it s not difficult to admire and appreciate how radical this work s frank discussion of female infidelity, marital discontent and general sexuality must have been in the context of the Middle East in the mid 1980s, context alone does it make it any easier to connect to such a nonlinear and abstract work populated exclusively by flat, unrelatable characters Purportedly, the book is influenced by the author s own life While some great fiction comes from autobiographical elements, here thes While it s not difficult to admire and appreciate how radical this work s frank discussion of female infidelity, marital discontent and general sexuality must have been in the context of the Middle East in the mid 1980s, context alone does it make it any easier to connect to such a nonlinear and abstract work populated exclusively by flat, unrelatable characters Purportedly, the book is influenced by the author s own life While some great fiction comes from autobiographical elements, here these elements seem to make the work far too insular to appeal to a general audience.Central character and occasional narrator Zahra has clearly been mistreated by the people in her life She has been privy to her mother s adultery from too young an age, abused and insulted by her domineering father and left with few options after some misguided dalliances with a married man and subsequent pregnancies abortions She is also apparently unattractive with a pock marked face and an unenviable figure Certainly, this should make her a sympathetic character, and sometimes it does She also suffers from profound mental illness and possibly epilepsy it s unclear and is portrayed as a such a bizarre and nebulous character in both her own narrated chapters and those of others that it s nearly impossible as a reader to find any common ground with her Her unhappiness is understandable, but none of her actions in the novel have any identifiable motivation She begins and ends the novel making decisions and committing acts that are alien and inexplicable I want to blame the translator certainly this character has humanlike characteristics in her native language, but I m not sure Other characters are a bitrecognizably human, especially Zahra s exiled revolutionary uncle, her suffering first husband and her eventual sniper maybe lover They re not necessarily dynamic or well rounded characters, but they rerelatable than Zahra Point of view is stream of consciousness, which works fairly well, but it s sometimes difficult to put together a chronology of events from Zahra s life amid the nonlinear plot The end, which I won t reveal in too much detail here, is certainly the end, however Much of the language is rich and descriptions are vivid In a world with a less inscrutable central character, this could work very well I realize that I m a white, Western man raised in a predominately Christian culture, but I ve read a lot of literature from other cultures, have traveled a lot of the world and briefly lived in the Middle East I can t imagine its my past alone that keeps me from finding a way into this difficult work I enjoyed short passages here and there, but mostly I found myself far to confused by Zahra and, frankly, sick of her to really get much out of this

  6. Stephen Durrant Stephen Durrant says:

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here This novel comes from the pen of one of the Arab world s most acclaimed female writers, Hanan Al Shaykh 1945 It traces the decline and tragic death of a Lebanese woman, Zahra, who is a victim, successively, of her mother s rather open infidelity loosely based upon the novelist s own experience as recounted in her recent The Locust and the Bird , of men, of the horrific Lebanese War 1975 90 , and of her own immaturity and distorted sense of sexuality The Story of Zahra makes an import This novel comes from the pen of one of the Arab world s most acclaimed female writers, Hanan Al Shaykh 1945 It traces the decline and tragic death of a Lebanese woman, Zahra, who is a victim, successively, of her mother s rather open infidelity loosely based upon the novelist s own experience as recounted in her recent The Locust and the Bird , of men, of the horrific Lebanese War 1975 90 , and of her own immaturity and distorted sense of sexuality The Story of Zahra makes an important statement about the way women in places like Lebanon are so easily caught between two worlds and are encouraged or even compelled into relationships they don t want and don t even entirely understand But this is a fairly common theme in modern literature deriving from strongly traditional societies, and the particular expression of this theme here is weakened by a sometimes unconvincing portrayal of Zahra s shifting mental states and of a rather thin and sometimes stereotyped portrayal of other characters in the novel Nevertheless, the account of the confusion of the Lebanese War and of Zahra s brother s ill thought out involvement in that war is excellent, as is the chilling final pages of this novel, pages that end with a dying narrator

  7. Diyar Diyar says:

    The writing was beautiful in this book I could sense it was written in Arabic, I recognized the language she used It did not always fit in Dutch, so I was glad I knew what she meant in Arabic The way the thoughts of Zahra were written was beautiful But. I had a few issues with this novel First of all I could not understand Zahra I understand she had been through a lot, but at times I couldn t understand her motives for doing things She would just make random decisions out of nowhere Her The writing was beautiful in this book I could sense it was written in Arabic, I recognized the language she used It did not always fit in Dutch, so I was glad I knew what she meant in Arabic The way the thoughts of Zahra were written was beautiful But. I had a few issues with this novel First of all I could not understand Zahra I understand she had been through a lot, but at times I couldn t understand her motives for doing things She would just make random decisions out of nowhere Her thoughts were all over the place At one point she was mental ill, but at an other point in the story she would function perfectly normal And than there were these parts in the book narrated by men These parts would just be in the middle of a chapter and would only make meconfused about Zahra

  8. Tasha Tasha says:

    This was painful I know that it was designed to juxtapose the protagonist s mental state with the state of Lebanon during war, but it was still extremely painful, and I found myself hoping that Zahra would just die to end both of our misery during a good portion of the book.

  9. Kath Kath says:

    These are personal opinions, not professional reviews, so I just want to ask what all the hype over this book is about The protagonist, Zahra, is unselfish and completely weird She never finds her footing, and I don t have sympathy for any of the characters in this novel They are selfish and cruel The second part, in war torn Beirut, is the best part I kept trying to read the woman as the embodiment of the state in this case, the country of Lebanon , but I just couldn t get through all the These are personal opinions, not professional reviews, so I just want to ask what all the hype over this book is about The protagonist, Zahra, is unselfish and completely weird She never finds her footing, and I don t have sympathy for any of the characters in this novel They are selfish and cruel The second part, in war torn Beirut, is the best part I kept trying to read the woman as the embodiment of the state in this case, the country of Lebanon , but I just couldn t get through all the selfishness and opportunism Those overrode any literary merit of the book I know why it s banned by several Muslim countries the sex and the types of sex in this book are gross and unredemptive If this is a thinly veiled portrait of Lebanon at war, then the author seems to be saying that Lebanon is as dysfunctional as the mad narrator and her family I wish Lebanese writers would move on from the war It will never make sense, so don t subject the reader to your attempts to come to terms with it This one was a waste of time

  10. Linda Linda says:

    Wow disturbing book Very unexpected topic for an Arabic novel I suppose that s why it was banned in so many Arab nations.Zahra is one messed up girl Set in Beirut, young Zahra witnessed her mother s adultery she was often brought along on trysts , her father s abusive ways it s no wonder she is so screwed up As an adult she carried on an affair with a married man who impregnates her twice, leading to abortions She escapes to Africa where her uncle may or may not be sexually attracted to her Wow disturbing book Very unexpected topic for an Arabic novel I suppose that s why it was banned in so many Arab nations.Zahra is one messed up girl Set in Beirut, young Zahra witnessed her mother s adultery she was often brought along on trysts , her father s abusive ways it s no wonder she is so screwed up As an adult she carried on an affair with a married man who impregnates her twice, leading to abortions She escapes to Africa where her uncle may or may not be sexually attracted to her she escapes him by marrying one of his friends That was a disaster she ends up in the hospital getting electr shock treatment She is literally crazy, lives a risky life, and she is a hard character to sympathize with Not a pleasant book but important as a voice is given to a type of character never seen in Arabic literature

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