About the book
Three generations of Palestinian-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 with potential husbands at her grandmother Fareeda’s insistence, though her only desire is to go to college. 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…
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.
What is a woman’s life worth?
This book was like a kick in the chest for me. I cannot even begin to fathom a life filled with so much abuse and restriction. It is the first book in a long time to make me stop and think about all the basic things I take for granted every, single day.
A Woman Is No Man gives us a peek into the absolute power that shame carries with it and is an enthralling read.
Described by the New York Times as “A love letter to storytelling“, let there be no doubt that this book is precisely that.
The characters are really well-developed. The narrative is sharp. It is a must-read.
Thanks so much to Harper Collins UK and Etaf Rum for my copy of this mesmerising book. It’s definitely one I will be recommending to friends and family.
Find it to purchase here.