By Nawal El Saadawi
This is the 1st quantity of the autobiography of Nawal El Saadawi, giving an emotionally shattering, yet splendidly lyrical, portrait of her youth in a distant Egyptian village -- the youth that produced the liberty fighter. She describes vividly the tradition of where and time into which she was once born and likewise her intuitive -- and encouraging -- wish to go beyond the limitations pressured upon her as a result of her gender. From the very begin, escaping the grab of attainable marriage on the age of ten, we see how she moulded her personal inventive energy right into a weapon and the way using phrases turned an act of uprising opposed to injustice, major first to her occupation as a doctor and finally to her iconic prestige as a novelist and political activist.
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Extra info for A Daughter of Isis: The Autobiography of Nawal El Saadawi, 2nd ed.
Fahima and Ni’mat disappeared quickly into their rooms followed by the envious looks of my grandmother. She did not have a room of her own in which she could lock herself up. There was nothing she could do but get up from her couch and move towards this stranger who had slept in the same bed with her for more than thirty-five years. My grandmother Amna was forty-four, but she looked seventy, with her shrunken body, her wrinkled complexion drained of all its blood, her swollen legs thrust into thick woollen stockings, her drooping features, her lids swollen over grey lustreless eyes like a surface of frozen water, under which had disappeared the irises and pupils.
No way but for him to go to the best school in Misr and become the biggest head in the whole country. Yes, there was no way but for him to get out of the muck, never to be a peasant like his father, and die of bilharziasis, to live, and learn and become educated and become Sayed Effendi, yes, no less than Sayed Effendi, and even Sayed Bey like Shoukry Bey. Why not? Was the belly that gave birth to Shoukry Bey any different from your woman’s belly, Mabrouka? ** I said your son, Mabrouka, daughter of the woman from Gaza that you are, your son is destined to marry one of the daughters of Shoukry Bey, and you’re not going to die, yes you will not die before you dance at your son’s wedding on the night when he will enter into one of the daughters of those beys or pashas†† of Egypt.
Everyone in the village believed him, except my mother, God rest her soul. She used to say, if his mother was an Abyssinian of noble ancestry, why did God not mention her in the Qur’an the way he mentioned our Holy Mother Mary. And if she owned land and slaves like the queen of Sheba, why did the Qur’an omit to talk of her. Habasheya was certainly no more than a slave, or one of the Sultan’s concubines. She hated Al‑Saadawi like poison, said he was a devil, son of a devil. In the night his eyes gave out sparks of fire, and in the summer he disappeared as though swallowed up by the earth.
A Daughter of Isis: The Autobiography of Nawal El Saadawi, 2nd ed. by Nawal El Saadawi