I Killed Scheherazade: Confessions of an Angry Arab Woman

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Overview

For centuries the heroine of The Arabian Nights, Scheherazade, defined the Arab woman—until Joumana Haddad, an Arab woman herself, had had enough. Haddad angrily challenges prevalent notions of identity and womanhood in the Middle East in this intrepid exploration. While she finds the West’s dominant portrayal of Arab women appalling, she finds the image projected by many Middle Eastern women to be infuriating as well. She discusses her intellectual development and the liberating effect of literature on her life,...

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I Killed Scheherazade: Confessions of an Angry Arab Woman

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Overview

For centuries the heroine of The Arabian Nights, Scheherazade, defined the Arab woman—until Joumana Haddad, an Arab woman herself, had had enough. Haddad angrily challenges prevalent notions of identity and womanhood in the Middle East in this intrepid exploration. While she finds the West’s dominant portrayal of Arab women appalling, she finds the image projected by many Middle Eastern women to be infuriating as well. She discusses her intellectual development and the liberating effect of literature on her life, and in the process she transcends religious and cultural perspectives. Ultimately she argues that every woman has not only the right but the duty to ignore social, political, and sexual expectations and be true to herself. Fiery and candid, this is a provocative exploration of what it means to be an Arab woman today that will enlighten and inform a new international feminism. For Haddad, Scheherazade is dead, and the time has come for Arab women to tell their own stories.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Poet and translator Haddad's quarterly, Jasad, a controversial magazine in the Arab world for its emphasis on the human body (and nude photographs), sparked a question from a non-Arab journalist about how an Arab woman could spearhead an erotic publication. The incident prompted Haddad to compose this brief, spirited text about life as a "liberated Arab woman" in modern Beirut. A somewhat pedantic introduction ("if you are longing to be comforted in your Orientalist views... you'd better not go any further") soon gives way to a more exploratory, philosophical tone as Haddad sets about to deconstruct and analyze what it means to be an Arab woman writer. Part memoir, part argument, Haddad's book examines subjects as wide-ranging as her childhood hatred of Barbies, reading de Sade and Lolita, the nature of home and attachment, the trouble with Beirut ("Where homosexuals have to hide as if they represent a deadly plague"), and why she created Jasad in the first place. The title, a reference to the protagonist of The Arabian Nights whose life is spared by the king because of her ability to entertain him with stories, becomes an appropriate central metaphor for Haddad's project—tearing down the classic "symbol of Arab female cultural oppression"—in a book that, despite its polemical nature, is surprisingly entertaining. (Sept).
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781569768402
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/1/2011
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 959,694
  • Product dimensions: 8.24 (w) x 5.60 (h) x 0.34 (d)

Meet the Author

Born in 1970 in Beirut, Joumana Haddad is an award-winning poet, literary translator, magazine publisher and journalist. Joumana is the cultural editor for the an-Nahar newspaper. In 2008 she launched the Arab world’s first erotic cultural magazine, Jasad (Body), which made headlines around the world, leading the Sunday Telegraph to dub her ‘The Carrie Bradshaw of Beirut’. She was chosen as one of the best Arab authors under 39 in 2009 (Beirut39), and acts as the administrator of the International Prize of Arabic Fiction (the ‘Arab Booker’). Joumana was the recipient of the Blue Metropolis (Montreal) Al Majidi Ibn Dhaher Arab Literary Prize in 2010.
She lives in Lebanon with her two sons.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 5, 2013

    This book was a disappointment. Full of self-indulgent prose, an

    This book was a disappointment. Full of self-indulgent prose, and talk of her being a rebel…this was not what I expected to find inside the pages. Something was a bit uncomfortable about the flow of her writing in this book – choppy, haphazard, struggling. I feel as though I wasted my hard-earned money, and would not recommend this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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