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Nine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic Women

Nine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic Women

Book rating: 03 Paperback

By (author) Geraldine Brooks

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  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Format: Paperback | 272 pages
  • Dimensions: 129mm x 198mm x 17mm | 190g
  • Publication date: 1 March 2010
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0141029404
  • ISBN 13: 9780141029405
  • Sales rank: 5,105

Product description

When her poised and sophisticated yuppie assistant at the Cairo bureau of the "Wall Street Journal" suddenly 'adopted the uniform of a Muslim fundamentalist', Geraldine Brooks set out to discover the truth about women and Islam. Sometimes adopting a chador as camouflage, she was granted meetings (and often astonishingly intimate insights) by everyone from Queen Noor of Jordan to former Iranian President Rafsanjani's daughter. She met with Palestinians protesting about 'honour killings' for adultery and sheltered girls transformed into warriors by the Emirates' armed forces. Throughout the Middle East, Brooks was invited into the homes and lives of these women where she found real stories that overturn western stereotypes. Fair-minded and often revelatory, "Nine Parts of Desire" is an extraordinarily rich tapestry of the different lives women lead under Islam, and a captivating and diverse portrait of a little known world.

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Author information

Geraldine Brooks is an award-winning author and journalist. She has written several books of fiction and non-fiction, including the international bestselling novel Year of Wonders and more recently March, which won the Pulitzer. She lives in rural Virginia.

Customer reviews

By mohammad 29 Dec 2010 5

I'm a muslim man, but i cant deny this, there are a thousand of muslim women are say Geraldine Brooks, author of "Nine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic Women, it's real and true story, thank you

By Lindsey Griffith 06 Sep 2010 2

I live in Dubai and know a lot of people who have read this book, besides myself. I am an American, so you'd think my perspective would be similar to Brooks', but it's not. It is true, there are extreme, evil, awful and just wrong things that happen in the name of fundumental Islam, and I know I have shared stories with expat friends about them. But I and everyone I know who has read this book have been left with a bad taste. Brooks is a very good, engaging writer, and I did learn some things from this book, so I wouldn't disregard it completely. But I did find myself wondering why Brooks has such an agenda to convince the world of Islam's evil. Maybe she is bitter from her own experiences during the years she spent reporting in the Middle East.

Brooks picks a lot of specific extreme examples and pretends to balance them with positive stories, but she alway ends on a negative note. I would have liked to see more discussion of the places in the world where Muslims live alongside other religions in relative tolerance. Places like Jordan, or Dubai, where the government itself makes a concerted effort to inform people about the difference between the cultural traditions of Arabic lands and the practices which are actually drawn from the Koran. I felt the book omitted a needed discussion of the Muslim women (and men) who had left their home countries when fundamentalist regimes gained power. How many Muslim communities are there like this in the world? And yet the book tries to pin the injustices it discusses purely on Islam, rather than the regimes in power in the middle east. Brooks seems to say, yes, there are Muslim countries where things aren't so bad, but still, all the problems they do have stem from Islam.

If you are willing to do the work of reading a lot more to balance Brooks' perspective with more information, then it is probably worthwhile to read this book. On the other hand, if you only read one book about Muslims, do not make it this one.

Review quote

Fascinating, meticulously reported, and elegantly written Susan Faludi She takes us behind the veils and into the homes of women in every corner of the Middle East ... It is in her descriptions of her meetings that the book excels Observer