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The Others Paperback – September 1, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
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A revolutionary novel with a culturally fascinating contextual twist”Book Marks
A hit when it was released in Arabic, the new English translation shows a side of the Middle East that many assume could never exist” Modern Tonic Review
A psychological portrait of what happens to the mind when it is kept inside a small space, The Others is both frightening and revealing”Rain Taxi
Already a best seller in Arabic (and published pseudonymously), this Saudi novel, in which a closeted lesbian Shia girl feverishly narrates her struggles and affairs, offers a rare personal glimpse into the repressive kingdom”New York Magazine
A trance-like excursion into contemporary Saudi Arabian life [The Others] takes the mixing of ancient and modern cultures in the Muslim world and spotlights the contrast between the two”The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide
The exploration of an obsessed mind unable to relinquish her belief in a perfect body”Counterpunch
Top Customer Reviews
Too many clichés, metaphors everywhere, and an overall lack of cohesion that would have justified all the meandering.
The most disappointing aspect was that the nameless protagonist never came to terms with her lesbianism (or much else for that matter). The book was one long, self-indulging moooaan. She exhibited self-hatred throughout, and in the end she claimed to have found her peace with a male. Yes, sorry to leak the ending, but it's THAT kind of a lesbian story.
I must say that I found Riem's suggestion that she "wouldn't be surprised if the author did not turn out to be from Qateef, Shia or even a girl," to be intriguing. However, I did conclude that it was a woman who wrote the book. Confusion in men tends to be less melodramatic and capricious. To me, this was clearly a confused woman's story. In fact, the one positive aspect of this book was that it did shed light on the thinking behind some erratic, illogical, and self-destructive behaviour of a past lover.
The description of the book intrigued me enough to order the book right away and have it shipped to Saud Arabia. As it turns out the description is highly exaggerated!!
I am not a lesbian and have no problems with people engaging in homosexual activities. The main reason I bought the book is that I thought it would offer an upclose glimpse on a highly taboo topic in Saudi Arabia and the Arab world. I don't claim total knowledge of a so called "lesbian world" in Saudi Arabia but I feel comfortable in saying that my knowledge triumphs the author's. (I think any Saudi female has more knowledge about lesbians that the author).
I found myself struggling to read the 276 pages book or even get into in. The author uses way too many metaphors and clichés for my taste and the story has no plot or conflict. At first I blamed the translation and decided to search for the book in its original language. I googled the book and to no surprise found it received a wave of criticism since its release in 2006. The book is supposedly banned in Saudi Arabia and in other gulf countries (but this has not been confirmed). Finally, I did find a downloadable version.
Little by little I abandoned the English version and stayed with the Arabic one, which also contained the exact metaphors. I found it more acceptable to read it in Arabic probably because am used to such metaphors by some Arab writers, who consider using metaphor an art (the more the merrier).
The book does not give enough details to be considered an erotic novel (as some reviewers describe it). Some homophobes found the little vague details disgusting and refused to continue reading the book.Read more ›