Synopses & Reviews
So begins Nawal El Saadawi's tenth novel. And indeed, when the famous Egyptian psychiatrist and writer released The Novel in 2005, it was banned all over the Arab world. But the novel inside The Novel is by a young woman-a woman who is only 23 years old, who has no family, no university degree, no national identity card, whose name does not appear on the lists of prominent women writers. A woman, that is, whose biography is as unlike Saadawi's own as possible, as if she has stripped herself of all the effects of her own worldly existence to explore something earlier, more elemental, than the political work for which she is so well known. In following the life of this young, unnamed woman writer as it intersects with those of a famous writer named Rostum, his wife Carmen, and a poet called Miriam, El Saadawi gives us a deeply felt exploration of the nature of identity, of fame, of writing, and of freedom.