Distant View of a Minaret

Distant View of a Minaret, by Alifa Rifaat

I only heard of this collection of stories recently, and now I can't remember where I got the title, but I was interested right away. Alifa Rifaat is a writer in Egypt with relatively little exposure to Western ideas--she speaks no English and wouldn't care about the West anyway--and so while her stories are considered to be feminist, they are feminist from a very different point of view, one that is orthodoxly Muslim. (Is orthodoxly a word? It should be.)

Most of the stories are very short, and realistic, portraying pivotal moments in ordinary women's lives. I liked most of them and zipped through the book very quickly. Some of the time she looks at how men lose the right to respect when they treat women badly--but she would not say that men should not be in charge at all, I gather.


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