The Open Door

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American Univ in Cairo Press, 2002 - Literary Collections - 364 pages
1 Review
The Open Door is a landmark of women's writing in Arabic. Published in 1960, it was very bold for its time in exploring a middle-class Egyptian girl's coming of sexual and political age, in the context of the Egyptian nationalist movement preceding the 1952 revolution. The novel traces the pressures on young women and young men of that time and class as they seek to free themselves of family control and social expectations. Young Layla and her brother become involved in the student activism of the 1940s and early 1950s and in the popular resistance to continued imperialist rule; the story culminates in the 1956 Suez Crisis, when Gamal Abd al-Nasser's nationalization of the Canal led to a British, French, and Israeli invasion. Not only daring in her themes, Latifa al-Zayyat was also bold in her use of colloquial Arabic, and the novel contains some of the liveliest dialogue in modern Arabic literature.

"Not only a great novel, but a literary landmark that shaped our consciousness." Abdel Moneim Tallima

"A great anticolonialist work in a feminist key." Ferial Ghazoul

"Latifa al-Zayyat greatly helped all of us Egyptian writers in our early writing careers." Naguib Mahfouz
 

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User Review  - Zenodotos - LibraryThing

Despite Layla's Trollopian ditherings about her choice of men and her rather hopelessly rudderless personality, this bildungsroman holds the attention all the way to the apocalyptic climax of the Suez ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Section 1
3
Section 2
47
Section 3
63
Section 4
81
Section 5
97
Section 6
109
Section 7
123
Section 8
159
Section 15
253
Section 16
265
Section 17
283
Section 18
295
Section 19
301
Section 20
311
Section 21
317
Section 22
327

Section 9
169
Section 10
183
Section 11
199
Section 12
207
Section 13
229
Section 14
243
Section 23
333
Section 24
345
Section 25
351
Section 26
355
Copyright

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About the author (2002)


Latifa al-Zayyat (192396) struggled all her life to uphold just causes national integrity, the welfare of the poor, human rights, freedom of expression, and the rejection of all forms of imperialist hegemony. As a professor of English literature at Ain Shams University, her critical output was no less prolific than her creative writing, but the creative, academic, and political strands of her personality were interwoven. The Open Door is generally recognized as her magnum opus.

MARILYN BOOTH received her D.Phil. in Arabic literature and modern Middle East history from St. Antony's College, Oxford. She has translated numerous works of Arabic fiction, most recently The Tiller of Waters by Hoda Barakat (AUC Press 2001).

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