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The Forbidden Woman (European Women Writers) Paperback – February 1, 1998
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Mokeddem's lushly written third novel tells of one woman's rebellion against the constraints of Muslim fundamentalism in Algeria and, through her struggle, of all Algerian women's predicament in that inequitable society. Born to illiterate nomads, Mokeddem herself fought tradition and custom to become the only girl in her village to attend high school; she nurtured herself on the stories told by her Bedouin grandmother, who championed her intelligence and insisted on her education. Through immersion in the literary classics, she distanced herself from her origins, even refusing an arranged marriage. Eventually, she went to medical school and became an expatriate doctor in France. Her heroine Sultana's story, told in this short novel, virtually recapitulates her own. In Sultana, we see a strong yearning for freedom in conflict with the equally powerful sway of the past, and we glimpse the ambivalence as well as the anger of contemporary Algerian women. Whitney Scott --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
"Malika Mokeddem, through her autobiographical character of Sultana and an intriguing supporting cast, gives us a rich and relevant description of the steep divide in the geography of her soul-one educated beyond the boundaries of the extreme element of Islamic fundamentalism in Algeria, and one that yearns for home. The Forbidden Woman is a short, lush, and provocative novel. It provides a piercing view of the inner life of anyone who must live in exile, both physically and emotionally, along with a necessary and practical understanding of the current prognosis for most of Algeria's women. At once unsettling and enjoyable."-Bloomsbury Review Bloomsbury Review "Through the narratives of Sultana and Vincent, Mokeddem creates an interesting dual perspective on the plight of contemporary Algerian women struggling to preserve female strength in the midst of sexist culture. While Sultana's pain seems irremediable, hope lies in the fresh determination of Delila and also in the active resistance of the village women who finally band together in solidarity with Sultana to defy oppression."-Rachel Stein, Multicultural Review Multicultural Review