Friday, 20 December 2019

#BlogTour A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum


Today it's an absolute pleasure to take part in the BlogTour A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum. It's a poignant tale of oppression and also women's empowerment.

About the Author
Etaf Rum was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, by Palestinian immigrants. She teaches college English literature in North Carolina, where she lives with her two children. A Woman is No Man is her first novel.

Follow @EtafRum on Twitter, on Facebook, on Instagramon Goodreads, on Amazon, Visit etafrum.comBuy A Woman is No Man
About the book
Palestine, 1990. Seventeen -year-old Isra prefers reading books to entertaining the suitors her father has chosen for her. Over the course of a week, the naive and dreamy girl finds herself quickly betrothed and married, and is soon living in Brooklyn. There Isra struggles to adapt to the expectations of her oppressive mother-in-law Fareeda and strange new husband Adam, a pressure that intensifies as she begins to have children - four daughters instead of the sons Fareeda tells Isra she must bear.

Brooklyn, 2008. Eighteen-year-old Deya, Isra's oldest daughter, must meet with potential husbands at her grandmother Fareeda's insistence, though her only desire is to go to college. Deya can't help but wonder if her options would have been different had her parents survived the car crash that killed them when Deya was only eight. But her grandmother is firm on the matter: the only way to secure a worthy future for Deya is through marriage to the right man.

But fate has a will of its own, and soon Deya will find herself on an unexpected path tht leads her to shocking truths about her family - knowledge that will force her to question everything she thought she knew about her parents, the past, and her own future.

Set in an America at once foreign to many and staggeringly close at hand, A Woman is No Man is a story of culture and honour, secrets and betrayals, love and violence. It is an intimate glimpse into a controlling and close cultural world, and a universal tale about family and the ways silence and shame can destroy those we have sworn to protect.

Review
Why wasn't this on some of the best book and prize lists of the year in the Uk? It has seriously remained almost invisible, despite winning recognition and accolades in the US. It should be compulsory reading for all girls and women, regardless of their background.

It speaks truth to the lies that are spoken by both men and women defending tradition, culture and religion. Tell us again how you revere women. How they aren't treated like sub-humans and second class citizens. Tell us again how keeping women silent and submissive is simultaneously cementing and honouring their place in society.

I came away a few times from this read, but ultimately when I finished it I was both enraged and saddened.

I think what many of us forget, and that includes the families who put children, and especially girls, in this position, is the difficult position they end up in when they grow up in Western cultures. The two contradicting cultures must be incredibly difficult to navigate at the same time. One culture is steeped in medieval and oppressive traditions and rules, whereas the other culture allows freedom in all areas. How are children and young people supposed to be true to both?

The story begins with Isra, a young Palestinian Arab girl who is married off to a family and moved to Brooklyn. Then we hear the story of her eldest daughter Deya as her grandmother Fareeda starts to pressure her into upholding the family honour and her duties by accepting a suitor.The stories of the two women play out at the same time as Deya discovers the truth about the parents she believes were killed in a car crash.

It's women's fiction and a poignant contemporary read about empowering women in a culture of systemic abuse and oppression. The author gives us a compelling and infuriating look behind closed doors. Girls born and bred to be nothing more than brood-mares, cleaners, cooks and objects of abuse - that's if they are allowed to live at all. No wonder Isra sinks into despair.

I think it's particularly tragic that her love of reading is what ultimately destroys what is left of her hope that there is more out there for her and her daughters other than pressure, oppression and pain.

I loved and hated this book in equal measures. It is an incredibly tragic and beautiful story, but it is also indicative of the systemic abuse and oppression of women in certain cultures.

One last thing - although it pains me to say this - the role other women play in both the oppression and abuse shouldn't be underestimated. Fareeda plays a leading role in this story, as do other mothers, wives, sisters and daughters who condone and contribute to never-ending cycle of oppression. Excusing it by labeling it tradition, culture or part of a devout upbringing is a farce and makes a mockery of any culture that sustains, welcomes and continues to uphold oppressive and abusive behaviour.

It is an excellent read.

Buy A Woman is No Man at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HQ: Published on 12th December 2019 - Paperback £8.99 - Available in eBook and Audiobook. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Hive.co.uk Buy at Waterstones

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