Thursday, January 26, 2006

"A Girl Called Apple" by Hanan Al-Shaykh

Apple is an unmarried woman approaching middle age in a culture which, much like any other culture, expects most adults to marry, settle down, and have children. Living as she does with her family in an infrequently visited oasis, Apple's choices may be few, but her willpower strong. Read by Scoot.

Not surprisingly, the writer says she wrote this story after a visit to Yemen. Though she now lives in London, Hanan Al-Shaykh is a Shi'i Muslim from southern Lebanon, and is considered one of the most important female writers in the modern Arab world. Al-Shaykh began her career, as so many writers do, as a journalist in Cairo and Beirut. Her books, which, in part, examine power struggles between the sexes in the Middle East and beyond, include Women of Sand and Myrrh and Only in London--which gives you an idea of the cosmopolitan scope of her writing. Interestingly, the title of one of her lectures was "The New Scheherezade," so one might assume she has many more stories to tell us.

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