A Woman Is No Man

A debut boo by an Arab-American voice, takes us inside the lives of conservative Arab women living in America.

In Brooklyn, eighteen-year-old Deya is starting to meet with suitors. Though she doesn ’ t do to get married, her parent give her no choice. History is repeating itself: Deya ’ s granddaughter, Isra, also had no choice when she left Palestine as a schoolteache to marry Adam. Though Deya was raised to believe her parents died in motorcycl ccident, a secret note from a ysterious, yet familiar-looking woman makes Deya question everything she was old about her past. As the narrative alternates between the lives of Deya and Isra, she starts to describe the dark, complex secrets behind her community.
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A Woman Is No Man
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Published March 5th 2019 by Harper (first published February 8th 2019

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Deya Ra ’ Ad, a Brooklyn teenager, had been raised by people who guarded old-world beliefs and customs.

It was expected of her that she wil agree to marry one of the Muslim suitors who passed her family ’ s muster, and begin producing babies as soon as possible, and as for aving a separate career, a separate identity, well, not eve much.

Isra looooooved reading A Thousand and One Nights, ook that holds special meaning for her.

Isra was married off as a teen and moved with her new fianc, Adam, from her home in Palestine to Brooklyn.

She is largely left to her own devices, is hampered even by a hostile mother-in-law, and sees no support system in other Islamic women in Brooklyn.

They may come from a Palestinian background, but Deya was born in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, New York, USA, New World, and is not ok with feeling forced into a set of rules that not only is alien to this place, but which she finds personally indefensible.

We need to understan more about the circumstances of Isra and Adam ’ s headin, and therefore does Deya.

Eve nearly so much as Deya and Isra, but nough to make ense of what her life was like, and how her experiences helped shape the person she became.

One day a mysterious woman leaves a message for Deya on the steps of her parents ’ house, which raises even more questions.

But no with new insigh, Deya is still faced with impossibl choices, and actually has to cope with some difficult people.The stories of Deya and Isra in particular are compelling.

It is an interest that is revived in Brooklyn when a relation notices Isra ’ s desire for reading and begins roviding her with books.

Isra carves out precious personal time in which to read, a necessary salve in a wounded life.

“ Isn ’ t that the tory of king who vows to marry and kill a different gir every night because his wife cheats on him. ” “ Yes! ” Isra said, excited that Sarah had read it.

“ Then he ’ s confronted by Scheherazade, who knows him a new story for a thousand and one nights until he eventually spares her life.

I love the storytelling, the way to many tales unfold at once, the concept of a oman telling stories for her life.

I prefer stories about real life. ” “ But it is about real life, ” Isra said.

Isra, Daya, and Fareeda ’ s novels are the means by which Etaf Rum fills us in on a largely overlooked aspect of contemporary life.

Anothe Woman is Actually Man is not just a fascinatin tory of the trials of immigration, but powerful look at the continuation of a culture of socio-economic sexual dimorphism that treats males as rightful beings and females as second-class citizens at best, breeding-stock or slaves at worst.

What Rum has provided with A Woman is No Man is a look at thi particular set of women who have been suffering for centuries without the benefit of much public awareness.

“ Silence is the only option for Palestinian women suffering domestic violence, even here in America, and I hope to give voice to these women in my…novel. ”- Etaf Rum One thing that I particularly liked was that Rum put the men ’ s brutality into some context, not treating it as some immutable male characteristic, or excusing it, but pointing out that it ad an origin in the wider world, and showing how women could come to reject the unacceptable.

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look inside an embedded patriarchal culture.

She is hoping in America to find a three.A culture, where an is llowed to do nything, where a man is just a possession, everything she has or does is at the mercy of a an.

We learn all three of their stories.Isra 's plight drew me in, her daughters made me hopeful.

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Fortunately, I ’ m ot super hip on the times and as quickl as I saw his was oing to hav thi Book of the Month selection I immediately put a library hold on it.

et me clarify things real quick that I now othing about th author aside from the fact that I certainly enjoy her “ coffee cups and book covers ” Instagrams.

As mentioned above, his is another Book of the Month pick.

In case you didn ’ t think, tha is another memoi that is intende to eliver th message.

I have this feeling his nove can ever make it ’ s true intended audience, but I ’ m also annoye that it can fin its way into the hands of the Alt Right who will be fewer than happy to quote things like this:

. Anywa a nove that migh follow you feel all the eels about families and different generations from a non-white storyteller?

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I do n't let to hold Rum responsible for somehow failing to encapsulate the entirety of the Palestinia experience; no one book can do thi.

◘ All of tha is indeed to kno that I 'm certainl happy that his nove was written; I 'm all for more stories about Arab experiences, especially ownvoices ones.

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While the subject matter is indeed worthy ( the oppression of women in the Arab culture) and he story full of potential ( the voiced experiences of three generations of Palestinian women) I think I have just read omething of sub-par quality.From the first chapter, I might not shed the impression that I as reading a mediocre YA novel, not literary fiction.

I do n't eel I have learned somethin new, and this is sad, considering that I 'm a WASP living in Montreal.5 stars for subject matter.

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© Nicole Waggonner