If you are about to read A Woman is no Man by Efaf Rum, wait. The novel would send you on a rollercoaster of emotions. Are you ready to take all that in? If yes, are you ready to work on what you would learn from the novel?
A Woman is no Man is a poignant read by Etaf Rum. It is a debut novel that narrates the lives of three generations of Palestinian women living in America. Through these women’s eyes, we take a long, beautiful, tragic ride through the experiences of Arab women in a patriarchal society. The book was by no means a happy read.
The story revolves around the young protagonist, Isra, who was married off to Adam. They moved off to Brooklyn together. However, the flowery imagination of her life with him soon faded when faced with her reality. The patriarchal world suppressed her dreams, and she had to submit to Adam’s family as a servant. However, Isra fights to see the light in all the darkness surrounding her and finds it in her daughter, Deya.
The novel gives a close description of what women face in a patriarchal world. We see life through the eyes of two characters, with death looming in the picture. It is a sad read but a true one. A strong point of the novel is how we get to see the travails of Arab women. But not just Arab women but women in general. The author also shows us that fighting against gender inequality is necessary. It is a battle that needs all the help it can get. Many lives hang in the balance due to it. And dreams, like Isra’s, turn to smithereens because of their gender and race.
That’s another thing the book looks into—race. How we forget we are humans first and our race next. The book is a loud and clear wake-up call. It teaches how we shouldn’t slack in our war against gender-based violence and racial inequality. It takes me back to when I read Khalid Hossein, A thousand splendid Suns. I felt just the same emotions as I did reading this book. It is a subtle yet strong reminder that we have to play our roles in ensuring the world is a safe place for all who live here.
Overall, the novel is an emotional and enjoyable read. If you need a powerful and nuanced portrayal of the experiences of Arab women in America, check this book out. It is a five-star for me, and I highly recommend it.