Enjoy millions of ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, and more

Only $11.99/month after trial. Cancel anytime.

A Woman Is No Man: A Novel

A Woman Is No Man: A Novel


A Woman Is No Man: A Novel

ratings:
4.5/5 (771 ratings)
Length:
10 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Mar 5, 2019
ISBN:
9780062897510
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as ebookEbook

Also available as...

Also available as ebookEbook

Editor's Note

Raising women’s voices…

TODAY’s Jenna Bush Hager selected Etaf Rum’s novel about women in an immigrant community as her May 2019 #ReadWithJenna pick. Jenna said in the announcement on TODAY, “It's about what is acceptable for a woman — how a woman can use her voice. And to see these women change, and to see their idea of what they can be change over generations is really the story of so many women.”

Description

Three generations of Palestinian-American women living in Brooklyn are torn between individual desire and the strict mores of Arab culture in this powerful debut — a heart-wrenching story of love, intrigue, courage, and betrayal that will resonate with women from all backgrounds, giving voice to the silenced and agency to the oppressed.

"Where I come from, we’ve learned to silence ourselves. We’ve been taught that silence will save us. Where I come from, we keep these stories to ourselves. To tell them to the outside world is unheard of — dangerous, the ultimate shame.”

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 naive 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. Deya can’t help but wonder if her options would have been different had her parents survived the car crash that killed them when Deya was only eight. 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 — knowledge that will force her to question everything she thought she knew about her parents, the past, and her own future.

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 honor, 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.

Publisher:
Released:
Mar 5, 2019
ISBN:
9780062897510
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as ebookEbook

About the author

Etaf Rum was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, by Palestinian immigrants. She teaches college English literature in North Carolina, where she lives with her two children. She also runs the Instagram account @booksandbeans.



Reviews

What people think about A Woman Is No Man

4.5
771 ratings / 58 Reviews
What did you think?
Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Critic reviews

  • TODAY's Jenna Bush Hager selected Etaf Rum's novel about women in an immigrant community as her May 2019 #ReadWithJenna pick. Jenna said in the announcement on TODAY, "It's about what is acceptable for a woman — how a woman can use her voice. And to see these women change, and to see their idea of what they can be change over generations is really the story of so many women."

    Scribd Editors
  • "A Woman is No Man" focuses on three generations of women in a Palestinian family all grappling with gendered societal and cultural expectations. Their voices, which are so often marginalized, come through loud and clear in this debut.

    Scribd Editors

Reader reviews

  • (5/5)
    i was a freaking EMOTIONAL WRECK after reading this! It's heartbreaking, unflinching, and damned powerful. A Woman is No Man tells the story of three generations of Palestinian American women; two who immigrated to the US and one who was born there. The story centers on Irsa, a young woman who is married off to an American Muslim, she is terrified to leave behind her family and the only life she's ever known, but she has dreams that life will better for women in America. Maybe they wil be loved and respected and given opportunities; something she never had growing up. America proves to be another let down though her new family is just as strict as the one she left behind. She is expected to clean and cook all day and bear her husband sons. There is no room for growth or freedom; she can't leave the house, make friends, read, or relax. She is constantly bossed around by Fareeda, her husbands mother, who makes sure that Irsa knows her place. It's a man's world and she shouldn't get any foolish notions in her head. She gets pregnant pretty quickly and everyone is annoyed when she births a girl. A useless girl. Then she goes and has three more girls. She and her daughters are the shame of the family, Irsa's husband starts beating her. The other two perspectives in the story are from Fareeda, her mother in law, and Irsa's eldest daughter, Deya. Reading this book you wish it was taking place in the past, how could something so unfair and inhumane take place in today's society? Are women really so unappreciated and abused. The ending was especially heartbreaking. A necessary read that will break your heart.
  • (4/5)
    A look inside an embedded patriarchal culture. Isra loves to read, books show her a wider world than the insular one where she lives. Custom, however, dictates that women cannot continue with their schooling but must marry instead. When a Palestinian family, one who now make their home in New York, travel back to Palestine to find a bride for their eldest son, Isra finds herself married. She wants to fall in love, to be loved and to have more freedom. She is hoping in America to find a three.A culture, where a man is allowed to do anything, where a woman is just a possession, everything she has or does is at the mercy of a man. The worst thing a woman can do is bring shame on her family.Isra is someone whose hopes and fears, tug at the heartstrings. Wanting more, she must settle for less. Her eldest daughter will take on the challenge of being allowed to make ones own decisions. So the story alternates between the two, with an occasional chapter narrated by Fareeda, Isras mother in law. We learn all three of their stories.Isra's plight drew me in, her daughters made me hopeful. I finished this, looked around at my pile of books and thought how luck i was that no one stopped me from reading. So lucky. This was at times a very emotionally draining story, but I think a necessary one. A look inside what is for many a life of darkness. This let's a little light in, by making us aware of what goes on inside some of these closed cultures.ARC by Harper Collins.
  • (5/5)
    Heartbreaking/inspiring story of three generations of women from a Palestinian family that immigrated to Brooklyn, NY, told in alternating chapters through the voices of different family members during different time frames.I adored the theme throughout the novel that books can be life changing.
  • (4/5)
    A downer, but a rewarding read nonetheless, about generations of Palestinian women trying to break the cycle of abuse and repression and their slow struggle towards self-respect and self-love.
  • (5/5)
    This book got all my emotions worked up but I definitely enjoyed it.
  • (5/5)
    Heart wrenching in a maddening way. Family, culture, and the search for one’s self against all odds.