book cover of A Woman Is No Man
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A Woman Is No Man

(2019)
A novel by

 
 

PRE-ORDER ETAF RUM’S NEW NOVEL, EVIL EYE, NOW – COMING SEPTEMBER 2023.

A New York Times bestseller • A Washington Post 10 Books to Read in March • One of Cosmopolitan’s Best Books by POC for 2019 • A Refinery 29 Best Book of the Month

‘A love letter to storytelling’ New York Times

‘A nuanced look at the power of shame to shatter lives and send shards of pain hurtling down the generations . . . brilliant’ Big Issue

‘Enthralling’ Image magazine

* * * * *

Three generations of Palestinian-American women living in Brooklyn are torn between individual desire and the strict mores of Arab culture in this heart-wrenching story of love, intrigue and courage.

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 naïve 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. 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 that leads her to shocking truths about her family…

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 closed cultural world, and a universal tale about family and the ways silence and shame can destroy those we have sworn to protect.




Genre: Historical

Praise for this book

"Etaf Rum's A Woman is No Man is a shattering, revelatory tale of immigration, womanhood, and the cyclical impact of violence and oppression. An unflinchingly written story of both loss and hope, strewn with enthralling, vibrant characters, Rum has accomplished the extraordinary: a tale that bridges the domestic and global, memory and future, the old world and the new. A spectacular debut." - Hala Alyan

"A Woman Is No Man, bold as a drumbeat, banishes the repressive silence that haunts Isra and her spirited daughter, Deya. This tender tale of women soldiering through a barbed world is a clarion call and a work of literary bravery." - Nadia Hashimi

"A gripping portrait of three generations of Palestinian women whose narratives are heartfelt and unsettling. Rum writes with tender sensibility, creating characters with layers of complexity and depth. She gives these women what they most desire and deserve: a voice." - Frances de Pontes Peebles


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