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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A captivating, unusual, and highly recommended novel, April 10, 2002
This review is from: A Woman of Five Seasons (Emerging Voices) (Paperback)
Deftly translated into English by N. Halwani and C. Tingley, A Woman Of Five Seasons by Leila Al-Atrash is a unique and fascinating novel superbly written by an Arabic woman who uses a work of fiction to informatively explore women's issues in the highly patriarchal Arabic world. An open-minded wife married to a traditional yet ambitious husband is caught between loyalties and feelings in this captivating, unusual, and highly recommended novel.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ibsen and Al-Atrah(MA Thesis), May 8, 2004
This review is from: A Woman of Five Seasons (Emerging Voices) (Paperback)
A FEMINIST AND COMPARATIVE READING OF HENRIK IBSEN'S
A DOLL'S HOUSE AND LEILA AL-ATRASH'S
A WOMAN OF FIVE SEASONS
By
Yousef M. A'wad
Supervisor
Prof. Ahmad Majdoubeh
ABSTRACT
The purpose of this study is to offer a feminist reading of two literary works that are set in two different places and two different periods of time to show how the female hero of each work has moved towards independence from her self-centered husband and from the androcentric society in which she lives. The first work is Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House and the second work is Leila Al-Atrash's A Woman of Five Seasons. Though the two texts are historically separated by more than a hundred years, they deal, in a very strikingly similar way, with the dilemma of women in a misogynist society and expose the double standards of both societies in which the two female heroes, Nora Helmer and Nadia Al-Faqih, live.
Nora's deserting of her husband and children is a consequence of the prejudice and the narrow-mindedness of her husband and her society at large. The freedom she has won is a means, a preliminary step to her own self-development. Nora's daring deed is a rejection of the social structures, especially the institution of marriage and motherhood. The echo of Nora's door-slam has reverberated in the ears of Nadia and pushed her to successfully set herself up as an independent woman. Nadia has been exploited by her opportunist husband, who has used her as a means to acquire more wealth. Like Nora, Nadia has challenged all the obstacles imposed by her patriarchal society to become a financially independent and well-established businesswoman. Nora and Nadia say "no" to the injustice inflicted on them by their societies. They revoke the yoke their patriarchal societies, represented by their husbands, impose on them. Their submissiveness and yielding to the authority and dominance of their husbands transform into self-assertion and rebellion against conventions once they realize the oppressive nature of the patriarchal ideology that operates in their societies.
The study pinpoints the fact that many of the standards and conceptions about women prevalent in a nineteenth-century European society are still in force in a contemporary Arab society that Leila Al-Atrash's novel depicts. Hence, the beliefs and ideas that govern and control the lives of women in nineteenth-century Europe are dominant in some the Arab societies. The concept of the "Angel in the House" that has intellectually influenced many of the European women in the nineteenth century is still the rule that governs the life of the Arab family, according to the opinion of many Arab feminists.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The story of a marriage . . ., June 19, 2010
This review is from: A Woman of Five Seasons (Emerging Voices) (Paperback)
Two stories in one, this absorbing short novel tells of the marriage of an intelligent and thoughtful woman to an ambitious man who makes a fortune for them both in a fictional oil-rich nation on the Gulf. His story is of an obsessive rise to power and of taking six- and seven-figure commissions on deals he works out between high-level government officials.

Hers is an equally complex story of yielding at first to the traditional role of an Arab wife and then slowly asserting her independence. While her husband takes an attractive European mistress, she takes up residence in London and finds a partner to go into real estate. Reading, in some ways, like a high-class version of "Dallas," the book is a well-conceived and well-plotted page-turner. It's also a feminist argument against the corrosive effects of traditional gender roles on marital relationships.
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A Woman of Five Seasons (Emerging Voices)
A Woman of Five Seasons (Emerging Voices) by Laylá Aṭrash (Paperback - February 1, 2002)
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