Fatma

Overview

"Fatma, an Arabian peasant girl, unwittingly embarks upon a strange journey of transformation the day her father marries her off to a snake handler with a sideline in potions brewed from venom. When Fatma is bitten by one of the snakes, she is changed from an innocent girl into an overpoweringly sensuous woman with a mysterious talent for controlling her husband's snakes and an ability to travel with them into realms beyond ordinary human experience." "Journeying into the Netherworld with her snakes, Fatma meets Prince Taray, a melancholoy
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Overview

"Fatma, an Arabian peasant girl, unwittingly embarks upon a strange journey of transformation the day her father marries her off to a snake handler with a sideline in potions brewed from venom. When Fatma is bitten by one of the snakes, she is changed from an innocent girl into an overpoweringly sensuous woman with a mysterious talent for controlling her husband's snakes and an ability to travel with them into realms beyond ordinary human experience." "Journeying into the Netherworld with her snakes, Fatma meets Prince Taray, a melancholoy warrior-hero. She and Taray bewitch each other and struggle toward union in rapturous rituals during which, among other things, Fatma alternately bursts into flames and melts into golden liquid." Resonating with ritual and mystery, Fatma is a tale of one woman's path to ecstasy - an enraptured vision of enchantment in this world and fulfillment in another.
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Editorial Reviews

Multicultural Review
One might consider this tale a revelation of Arabian women's inner lives in rebellion against the confines imposed on them or perhaps an exploration of innate suspicion between male and female. Or perhaps there is no identifiable meaning, just effect. The highly sensuous text was shaped by McDonough, who adds an afterword about his working relationship with the Saudi author.
Virginia Quarterly Review
Told in the form of dreams and living parables, Fatma is full of vivid descriptions that billow from Alem's bottomless well of Saudi culture. Nuggets of wisdom are sequestered within these languid lines of prose like diamonds in the rough.
Kirkus Reviews
Dreams, myths, and prophecies figure prominently in this elegant and eerie tale--an unusual collaboration between the Saudi Arabian woman who wrote it in English and the American cinematographer whose revision of her manuscript thus is, and isn’t, literally a "translation." It’s a story of transformation and empowerment: that of a naïve village girl married to a snake-handler, who is bitten by one of his creatures, and thereafter becomes one of them ("reign[ing] over a kaleidoscopic kingdom of poisons, danger, and surpassing, deathless beauty"). The narrative is minimal, but Alem creates a fascinating symbiosis between woman and serpents, and when Fatma’s horrified husband recoils (as it were) from her, the consequences are both catastrophic and perversely fulfilling. A unique fever dream.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780815608127
  • Publisher: Syracuse University Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.46 (h) x 0.52 (d)

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