Thursday, 13 September 2007

Girls of Riyadh

Banat Al Riyadh "Girls of Riyadh" which was widely known among young adults through Internet groups at first. The novel unfolds as every week after Friday prayers, the anonymous narrator sends an e-mail to the female subscribers of her online chat group. In fifty such e-mails over the course of a year, we witness the tragicomic reality of four university students-Qamra, Michelle, Sadim, and Lamis-negotiating their love lives, their professional success, and their rebellions, large and small, against their cultural traditions.

While this novel offers a distinctly Arab voice, it also represents the mongrel culture and language of a globalized world, reflecting the way in which the Arab world is being changed by new economic and political realities. Riyadh is the larger setting of the novel, but the characters travel all over the world shedding traditional garb as they literally and figuratively cross over into Western society.

Only last year I read the book, when a publishing company tracked the trace of the anonymous author who sends the groups e-mails for people around the Arabian Gulf Region. Its had really captured me about reading it and how other girls from different culture are considered to be lucky not to be in Saudi Arabia. The novel is written in informal Arabic/Saudi. That I had few problems to understand it, although I've seen an article saying they had translate the novel into more than 20 different languages.

I recommend anyone who wants to know about the culture of Saudi Arabia to read it. In the other Middle Eastern regions is not as strike as there.

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