- Paperback: 128 pages
- Publisher: Zed Books; New edition edition (November 15, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1783605944
- ISBN-13: 978-1783605941
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.7 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 52 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #34,853 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
Woman at Point Zero Paperback – November 15, 2015
|New from||Used from|
See the Best Books of 2018 So Far
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for the best books of the year so far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The format a single reporter interview that tells a transformation story was in part like Interview with a Vampire or
Story of Little Big Man .
The tone of book reminds me of Camus the stranger , and also Celine’s Death on the Installment plan. Her philosophy on freedom about speaking truth in the face of your own execution no longer being fearful strongly reminded me of Anna Quangel and Otto Quangel story in Alone in Berlin by Hans Fallada all excellent books so is this one rather short only a little over a hundred pages but I think it earned 5 stars for unique insight and message.
Firdaus is born to a poor family. Her parents die and she goes to live with her perverted uncle. He gets married and wants to be rid of Firdaus so he sends her to boarding school. She finishes her secondary school exams placing 7th in all of Egypt.
Her uncle and his wife decide that sending her to university would be a waste of time as there aren't that many job opportunities available. So, they marry her off to a sheik, who's supposed to be a real catch. He's plenty old enough to be her grandfather, and prone to tirades and violence that cause his repulsive facial sores to ooze pusty goo. Prior to this "arranged" marriage Firdaus contemplates escaping, but realizing how limited her options are acquiesces. Eventually, the marriage becomes unbearable and she flees only to be "rescued" by a pimp. She goes through a series of pimps, and one madam, before having a major epiphany.
Firdaus realizes she has been selling herself short. Drastically raising her prostitution rate makes her a hot commodity. Being a product of American pop culture myself this came as no great surprise to me. After all, some of my compatriots have been known to spend as much as $50,000 for a handbag. This concept of setting the price too high in order to raise the product's perceived worth in the eyes of the consumer is known in the advertising industry as "prestige pricing."
Firdaus sets herself up as a freelance pro. She has a nice apartment and picks and chooses her clients, and has free-time to pursue intellectual interests. Before long she has another major revelation after a male friend, whom she believes respects her as an astute liberated woman, lets her know that she's "just a whore." She then decides to get an "honest" 9 to 5 job working for the government. In doing so she must drastically reduce her standard of living. She is in for a rude awakening as she discovers the subculture of office politics. Not only did she make far more money as a prostitute she got more respect. Putting out is one of the unwritten rules of the job description.
Coincidentally, two nights before I read this book I saw a TV show about one of Nevada's legal brothels. The pimp, or CEO, boasted that their top "girl" grossed half a million dollars last year. That's more than 10 times what the average teacher makes (if not for the union they would make even less) and five times that of a nurse practitioner (HMOs don't mind paying this because it's still far cheaper than hiring MDs). Firdaus' story takes place about 35 years ago and I know there have been a lot of positive changes since then, but I wonder how many of them are cosmetic.
Two days after reading Firdaus' story I came across an article about the human organ "business." (Buying and selling organs is illegal in the US, but entrepreneurs circumvent this bete noire by charging "service" and "handling" fees. Organ procurers can strip a body much like a car, fetching $250,000 through legal channels!) In China harvesting death row inmates to sell their organs is reported to be a booming business. Regardless of how one feels about the death penalty, once profit is factored into the equation look out! So, if Firdaus were executed today in China her body could continue to be a commodity post-mortem.
This novella bears uncanny similarities to Lao She's "Crescent Moon." It's a short story in an anthology by the same name. A widowed mother is forced to prostitute to support her daughter then the daughter ends up prostituting to support the mother. Neither of them is named but, the daughters observations are very similar to Firdaus', so similar I began to wonder if Saadawi has read "Crescent Moon." Lao She was a casualty of the Cultural Revolution in 1966.
The motif of the stalking and judgemental green eyes can also be found in Li Ang's 1969 short story, "Curvaceous Dolls" that appears in The Colombia Anthology of Modern Chinese Literature edited by Joseph S.M. Lau and Howard Goldblatt. Li Ang also wrote The Butcher's Wife. "Curvaceous Dolls" is about a young wife's saphic longings, not unlike Firdaus' feelings for Miss Iqbal.