Against the white sand, the contours of my father’s body were well defined, emphasized its existence in a world where everything was liquid, where the blue of the sea melted into the blue of the sky with nothing between. This independent existence was to become the outer world, the world of my father, of land, country, religion, language, moral codes. It was to become the world around me. A world made of male bodies in which my female body lived.’
Nawal El Saadawi is one of the greatest writers to come out of the Arab world. Born in a small Egyptian village in 1931, her life and writings have shown an extraordinary strength of character and a unique ability to create new worlds in the fight against oppression. Saadawi has been pilloried, censored, imprisoned and exiled for her refusal to accept the oppressions imposed on women by gender and class. Still, she continues to write.
A Daughter of Isis is the first part of this extraordinary woman s autobiography. In it she paints a sensuously textured portrait of the childhood that produced the freedom fighter: from the trauma of female genital mutilation at seven years old to eluding the grasp of suitors at the age of ten. We see how, as a young adult qualifying, against the odds, as doctor, she moulded her own creative power into a weapon and how her use of words became an act of rebellion against injustice.
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