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New stories by Leila Abouzeid, the noted Moroccan writer, constitute an event for both East and West, for, as in her critically acclaimed novel, Year of the Elephant, the author cuts across cultural and national boundaries to offer fiction that has meaning for both Western and Middle Eastern readers. The stories in this volume deal with issues both traditional and modern-relations between parents and children, between husbands and wives, and between citizens of newly independent Morocco and its new nationalist representative government.
Independence from French colonial rule has brought many changes to Morocco—some more beneficial than others. Women have entered the work force in great numbers, a development which has brought them new freedoms, but which has also caused problems within the traditional family. Abouzeid shows us how these changes have affected ordinary men and women, how small everyday events loom large in individual lives. To her crisp style, reminiscent of some Western realist novelists, she adds elements of Arabic fiction—the oral story-telling technique, for example.
Abouzeid writes first in Arabic, which she has stated is a political choice. This makes her a literary pioneer in North Africa, where, until recently, most authors wrote in French. Elizabeth Warnock Fernea has written an introduction for this book, setting the stories in historical context.