Rituals of Memory in Contemporary Arab Women’s Writing By Brinda Mehta (Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press, 2007. 303 pages.)

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Naama Ben-Ami

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Abstract

Gender, an issue that has been in the headlines for decades now, has naturally
also attracted the scholarly attention of both men and women. In the
book under review, Brinda Mehta, professor of French and Francophone
Studies at Mills College, inquires into the subject of gender from the perspective
of a select group of leading contemporary women writers in the
Arab world whose compositions express the complexities of life for Arab
women in the Middle East (Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq), NorthAfrica (Egypt,
Algeria, andMorocco), and the United States (LosAngeles). The authors are
allArabs on both sides, except forDianaAbu-Jaber, daughter of a Jordanianborn
Arab Muslim father and an American Christian mother. The novels
chosen for analysis have widely varying plots, but all reflect the place of
women inArab society and how they cope with difficult circumstances.
The book is divided into six chapters, each devoted to one ormore compositions
(novels) by a writer or two, whose stimulation to write was derived
at least in part from their own personal experiences ...

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