Laila al-Atrash :مرأة للفصول الخمسة، (A Woman of Five Seasons)

The latest addition to my website is Laila al-Atrash‘s :مرأة للفصول الخمسة، (A Woman of Five Seasons). The novel is set in Barquais, a fictitious country, clearly based on one of the Gulf states (to which many Palestinians emigrated after the Nakba). There is no mention in the text of any real Arab country, including Palestine, though many of the main characters are obviously Palestinian. We follow the rise of Ihsan Natour, a Palestinian who has emigrated to Barquais, following his brother-in-law Faris who has done well. Ihsan struggles early on but thanks to his brother Jalal, whom he had previously despised and is a key player in the Palestinian resistance movement, he makes good contacts in Barquais and does very well, not always honestly. He has married Nadia, clearly a trophy wife but while he still very much remains sexually attracted to her, he, like all the men in this novel, believes it is her role to do what he wants and she does not agree, preferring to read serious books than mingling with the rich ladies of Barquais. Inevitably his rise is going to meet a stumbling block and Nadia will show that Arab woman can be independent.

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