A Daughter of Isis: The Autobiography of Nawal El Saadawi

Front Cover

'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 has been pilloried, censored, imprisoned and exiled for her refusal to accept the oppressions imposed on women by gender and class. For her, writing and action have been inseperable and this is reflected in some of the most evocative and disturbing novels ever written about Arab women.

Born in a small Egyptian village in 1931, she eluded the grasp of suitors before whom her family displayed her when she was still ten years old and went on to qualify as a medical doctor. In 1969, she published her first work of non-fiction, Women and Sex; in 1972, she was dismissed from her profession because of her political activism. From then on there was no respite: imprisonment under Sadat in 1981 was the culmination of the long struggle she had waged for Egyptian women's social and intellectual freedom; in 1992, her name appeared on a death list issued by a fundamentalist group after which she went into exile for five years. Since then, she has devoted her time to writing novels and essays and to her activities as a worldwide speaker on women's issues.

A Daughter of Isis is the autobiography of this extraordinary woman. In it she paints a sensuously textured portrait of the childhood that produced the freedom fighter. We see how she moulded her own creative power into a weapon - how, from an early age, the use of words became an act of rebellion against injustice.

 

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

Preface The Gift
1
Allah and McDonalds
14
The Cry in the Night
18
God Above Husband Below
28
We Thank God for Our Calamities
35
Flying with the Butterflies
41
Killing the Bridegroom
47
Daughter of the Sea
54
Uncles Suitors and Other Bloodsuckers
138
A Stove for My Mother
149
Coming to Cairo
154
The Long Strong Bones of a Horse
167
Love and the Hideous Cat
181
Art Thieves
187
Mad Aunts and Abandoned Babies
190
The House of Desolation
201

My Revolutionary Father
67
The Lost ServantGirl
75
The Village of Forgotten Employees
80
God Hid Behind the CoatStand
87
The Ministry of Nauseation
91
Dreaming of Pianos
99
To the Circus
104
The Singing Man
116
The Whiskered Peasant
128
The Secret Communist
209
Wasted Lives
222
Cholera Ageing and Death
236
The Quran Betrayed
247
British English and Holy Arabic
253
The Name of Marx
273
The Brush of History
285
Afterword Living in Resistance
290
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1999)

Nawal El Saadawi is a renowned Egyptian writer, novelist and activist. She has published over 40 books, which have been translated into over 30 languages.Nawal El Saadawi graduated from the University of Cairo Medical College in 1955, specializing in psychiatry, and practiced as a medical doctor until taking the position of Director General for Public Health Education in the Ministry of Health. In 1972 she lost her job in the Egyptian government because of her banned book: Woman and Sex. In 1982, she established the Arab Women's Solidarity Association (AWSA), the Egyptian Branch of which was outlawed in Egypt in 1991.In 1981 Saadawi was arrested and imprisoned for publicly criticizing President Anwar Sadat's policies. She was released one month after his assassination. Her name appeared on a fundamentalist death list after publishing her novel The Fall of the Imam in Cairo in 1988 and she was obliged to leave her country, to teach in the USA. Other court cases have been raised against both her and her daughter and defeated. In 2008 she defeated a case that demanded the withdrawal of her Egyptian Nationality in response to her play God Resigns at the Summit Meeting.Her most famous novel, Woman at Point Zero was published in Beirut in 1973. It was followed in 1976 by God Dies by the Nile and in 1977 by The Hidden Face of Eve. The Hidden Face of Eve was her first book to be translated to English and was published by Zed Books in 1980. Her most recent novel is Zina: The Stolen Novel (2008).Nawal El Saadawi holds more than ten honorary doctorates from different universities in Europe and the USA. Her many prizes and awards include the Great Minds of the Twentieth Century Prize (2003), the North-South Prize from the Council of Europe, the Premi Internacional Catalunya (2004) , and most recently she was the 2007 recipient of The African Literature Association's Fonlon-Nichols Award. Her books are taught in universities across the world.

Bibliographic information