Virgins of Paradise

I just finished reading a wonderful book called Virgins of Paradise. It is a fictional account of the Rasheed family headed by Amira the matriarch of the family and it takes place in Egypt starting in 1945 up through present day (the book was written in 1993). Amira’s son Ibrahim marries an English woman and they proceed to have two daughters Yasmina who wants to become a doctor and Camelia who wants to become a dancer. Ibrahim says to Amira “mother my daughters both belong to a new generation of women, I don’t understand them, but they are finding their voice.”

The book follows the two girls struggles to make their dreams come true in a culture dominated by men in a country with many restrictions on women’s freedoms. During their time Egyptian law executed a woman who killed a man, but rarely arrested the man because he was considered to be defending his honor, severely punished a wife for leaving her husband, but granted a husband the right to leave his wife and even divorce her by saying I divorce you three times in front of witnesses and permitted a man to beat his wife or to use any means necessary to keep her submissive.

I would highly recommend this book if you want to gain some perspective into the trials and tribulations that women face in another part of our world ! I give this book an A+.

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