- Paperback: 242 pages
- Publisher: Perseus Books; 1 edition (September 4, 1995)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780201489378
- ISBN-13: 978-0201489378
- ASIN: 0201489376
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 115 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #66,956 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Dreams of Trespass: Tales of a Harem Girlhood 1st Edition
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In 1940, harems still abounded in Fez, Morocco. They weren't the opulent, bejeweled harems of Scherezade, but the domestic sprawl of extended families encamped around a walled courtyard that marked the edges of women's lives. Though born into this tightly sheltered world, Fatimi Mernissi is constantly urged by her rebellious mother to spring beyond it. Worried that Mernissi is too shy and quiet, her mother tells her, "You must learn to scream and protest, just the way you learned to walk and talk." In Dreams of Trespass, an enjoyable weave of memory and fantasy, it is clear that Mernissi's fertile imagination let her slip back and forth through the gates that trapped her restive mother. She spins amiable, often improbable tales of the rigidly proper city harem in Fez and the contrasting freedoms of the country harem where her grandmother Yakima lives. There, one of Yakima's cowives rides like the wind, another swims like a fish, and Yakima relishes twitting the humorless first wife by naming a fat, waddling duck after her.
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But it is an absolute must for anyone visiting Morocco, especially Fes, and especially women travelers.
It puts a new twist on the life of women, who are still far too often behind closed doors in Moroccan culture, for those traveling there. It is a beautiful, disturbing, and fascinating window into the recent past of an invisible part of Moroccan society that it is very hard to get elsewhere. And it also holds truths and insight for women everywhere, in all times.
(Plus, on a practical note. it tries to explain to explain the complexities of the hamam experience, so that traveling women might have a very distant hope of figuring it out without bungling everything up entirely, and without knowing Arabic. But really, that is a quite remote hope, even with her beautiful depiction of the details of it.)