Pillars of Salt by Fadia Faqir

Pillars of Salt

Fadia Faqir

There are three voices in this sad Jordanian tale set in the time of the British Mandate - a traditional male storyteller and two women who exchange their life stories while confined to a mental hospital. Although the premise sounds depressing, this is a wonderful book, with beautifully drawn characters, which illustrates the difficulties faced by many women living in a male-dominated society.

Extract

Hey, girl. Bring the coffee,’ Daffash barked and gave me one of his fierce looks. He then said, ‘It’s your wedding day. Let us not spoil it.’ When I went out of the house I started laughing at the city women who had no sense of shame. I bumped into Hamda and told her the story of the towel. ‘They are used to it, my sister. By Allah, the men get bored with them very quickly. They show them everything, but we hide our treasures. When Flieh sleeps with me he feels as if he had conquered the cities of Andalusia,' Hamda said, ‘City women. No shame or shyness.’

Parallels
  • Woman at Point Zero by Nawal El-Saadawi
  • The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad
  • Changeling - Film