Overview


Bahiah Shaheen, an eighteen-year-old medical student and daughter of a prominent Egyptian public official, finds the male students in her class coarse and alien. Her father, too, seems to belong to a race apart. Frustrated by her hard-working, well-behaved, middle-class public persona, her meeting with a stranger at a gallery one day proves to be the beginning of her road to self-discovery and the start of her realisation that fulfilment in life is indeed possible. Two Women in One is the story of countless ...
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Two Women in One

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Overview


Bahiah Shaheen, an eighteen-year-old medical student and daughter of a prominent Egyptian public official, finds the male students in her class coarse and alien. Her father, too, seems to belong to a race apart. Frustrated by her hard-working, well-behaved, middle-class public persona, her meeting with a stranger at a gallery one day proves to be the beginning of her road to self-discovery and the start of her realisation that fulfilment in life is indeed possible. Two Women in One is the story of countless women in the Third World, and speaks of their quest for emancipation and dignity. ‘An intensely told story … A valuable opportunity to understand more clearly the currents of thought regarding women in a culture vastly different from the West.’ Christian Science Monitor 'These two women live, to some extent, in every thinking woman.’ The New York Times
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Editorial Reviews

Holly Smith
In contemporary Egypt, eighteen-year-old Bahiah Shaheen struggles to fill her inner need for independence. Her world consists of her family home and medical school, but she yearns for a freedom of which neither her mother nor her female classmates seem to be aware. As she looks at the women around her she is struck with despair by the falseness she feels about their lives. In her culture, where women's skirts bind their legs together by narrowing at the knees, she wears pants and causes people to wonder: "Was she a woman or a man?...But since she was a woman, it was legitimate to stare." Her involvement in a student uprising further defies her family and cultural expectations; it is a decision that changes her life. She notes: "We never know the reality of things: we see only what we are aware of. It is our consciousness that determines the shape of the world around us - its size, motion and meaning." Much of this story is told through Bahiah's thoughts, which are not always literal, imbuing the reality of her life with a dream-like quality. With her awareness, drive, and action, Bahiah Shaheen's search for a life different from the expected provides insight into the power of ancient and traditional Egyptian culture over women's lives.
Library Journal
Bahiah Shaheen is a young medical student outwardly obedient to the wishes of her petit bourgeois family but inwardly starved for freedom and affection. Egyptian feminist writer Saadawi ( The Face of Eve ) does little to flesh out this stock situation. The nature of the student movement Bahiah joins (and goes to prison for) remains a mystery, and the lover whose own imprisonment impels Bahiah's involvement is a vaguely characterized prop. Practices such as clitoridectomy that might usefully have been discussed in an introduction go unexplained. Whatever Two Women in One may have meant to its intended audience upon its original publication (Beirut, 1975), it is unlikely to stir many readers here. Grove Koger, Boise P.L., Id.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780863567285
  • Publisher: Saqi
  • Publication date: 6/1/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 124
  • File size: 604 KB

Meet the Author

Nawal El Saadawi is an internationally-renowned Egyptian writer and feminist. Her book Woman and Sex, published in 1972, dealt openly with subjects considered taboo. Several of her novels have been translated into English. She is currently Distinguished Visiting Professor at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia.

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