Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Story of Zahra” as Want to Read:
The Story of Zahra
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Story of Zahra

by
3.35  ·  Rating Details  ·  701 Ratings  ·  86 Reviews
With more than 21,000 copies in print ofWomen Of Sand And Myrrh, and more than15,000 copies of The Story OfZahra, Hanan al-Shaykh is the best known and mostadmired woman writer of the Arab world. The paperbackpublication of Zahra will bringthis passionate and courageous novel to a muchlarger group of readers. Its haunting story of ayoung Lebanese woman who attempts to stem ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published December 15th 1996 by Anchor (first published 1980)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,772)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
د. حمدان
Mar 08, 2016 د. حمدان rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
حكاية زهرة – حنان الشيخ

حنان الشيخ هي روائية وممثلة لبنانية من مواليد 1945 ولها عشرة أعمال روائية وهذه الرواية هي الثانية لها. وترجمت رواياتها إلى أكثر من عشرين لغة.

تتحدث هذه الرواية كما يوحي الاسم عن قصة الفتاة "زهرة" وهي فتاة لبنانية من عائلة شيعية من جنوب لبنان وتقيم معظم حياتها في بيروت. وقد نشرت في ثمانينات القرن الماضي.

زهرة فتاة ذات نفسية مضطرة. ولم يأتِ اضطرابها هذا من فراغ. بل من أسباب عائلية عميقة. فوالدها رجل قاسٍ بشكله الضخم وملامحه القاسية وشواربه كشوارب هتلر، وكانت تملك ذاكرة متكررة
...more
Alshaimaa
Jul 18, 2010 Alshaimaa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arabic-books
رواية متعبة
قصة زهرة فتاة دخلت إلى عالم الكبار دون أن تمر بالمنتصف
عانت في حياتها رضوخ مميت لمن أراد أن يأخذ بزمام حياتها
أحببت قصتها في القسم الأول، وكان أسلوبها نوعاً ما ممتع، وتناولها لأكثر من وجهة نظر كان جيد ولكن في القسم الثاني كان حديثها عن الحرب في لبنان وحياة زهرة في تلك الأيام. شتتني أسلوبها واستطرادها الغريب في الكتابة، وإعادتها للإحداث أكثر من مرة، لم أفهم الغرض من هذه الإعادة!
سؤال:
هل قد تتحول الحرب في لحظة لشيء نعتاده ونمارس تمسيح المرايات وكوي الملابس خلاله؟

اقتباس:
كوننا كالبرتقالة وصر
...more
Jordan
Jul 09, 2015 Jordan rated it it was amazing
This book deals with so many issues I don't know where to begin. I loved it.

In a sense it reminded me of a modern version of "The Yellow Wallpaper", a story of a woman driven to madness due to being forced to stay in a room by her husband after having a baby.

You won't understand Zahra if you don't understand suffering from PTSD, depression, and anxiety. In fact, most really don't understand this. Americans now pathologize everything, but mental health issues still aren't really understood or tr
...more
Diyar
Mar 13, 2014 Diyar rated it liked it
The writing was beautiful in this book. I could sense it was written in Arabic, I recognized the language she used. It did not always fit in Dutch, so I was glad I knew what she meant in Arabic. The way the thoughts of Zahra were written was beautiful.

But.. I had a few issues with this novel. First of all I could not understand Zahra. I understand she had been through a lot, but at times I couldn't understand her motives for doing things. She would just make random decisions out of nowhere. Her
...more
Najibah Bakar
Baca secara sambil lalu saja. Plot yang menarik, kisah seorang gadis Arab terjebak dalam kehidupan hitam rawan sejurus sebelum perang. Penderitaan itu jadi lebih sarat selepas perang bermula. Mengingatkan kepada kisah Salina, dengan segala isunya.
Mariam sa3afeen
Feb 16, 2013 Mariam sa3afeen rated it liked it
رواية مربكة حقا...لم أفهم شخصية زهرة بصراحةبدت عاجزة تماما ,انتظرت طوال الرواية أن تأتي برد فعل بسيط لما حولها, لكنها بقيت في قوقعتها ولدت مع ذلك الخوف الذي جعلها تتقبل قذارة كل من حولها,لم أحب الجزء الذي تحدثت فيه حنان عن الحرب .في الرواية ذلك الجاذب الذي يجعلك تتابع للنهاية هذه المعاناة...وتأتي النهايةالمفجعة!!! لتضعك في دوامة...(كانت غريبة وجميلة في آن)
Ana
Apr 05, 2013 Ana rated it it was ok
2.5 stars. This book started off really well. The writing is really great in some places and really sets the tone for this novel. Zahra is a young Lebanese girl who at a young age witnesses her mother's infidelity. Having witnessed that at a young age her impression of relationships and love is skewed. She goes on to have a relationship with a married man and then tries to reinvent herself by going to visit her uncle in Africa. While in Africa she marries her uncles's friend only to have that re ...more
Stephen Durrant
Mar 14, 2010 Stephen Durrant rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
ala'
Feb 03, 2012 ala' rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
مربكة ..
طَيْف
بعد الانتهاء من الرواية قلت في نفسي: لن أدع كآبتها تأسرني

فحنان الشيخ جمعت في الرواية شخصيات مهترئة ومشوهة...ذات صور نمطيّة...إنها كليشهات مكررة...وللأسف تعالج مشكلاتها بالطريقة التي تزيدها بلاء...فلا يكاد بصيص أمل يظهر حتى يأتي سواد معتم فيطغى عليه

ربما كان للبعد الاجتماعي دور كبير في الرواية...فالقصة الرئيسية هي قصة "زهرة" المرأة المضطهدة التي تحتويها بيئة فاسدة تقودها إلى الرذيلة...والإحساس بالظلم يولد لديها ضعفا لا تستطيع معه دفع الأذى عنها...بل تجده حلا في نهاية الرواية للشعور بالحياة والوجود
...more
Anney
May 10, 2014 Anney rated it it was amazing


It is the mid-1970’s, and while Lebanon is erupting into civil war, Zahra’s face is erupting with acne. In The Story of Zahra al-Shaykh’s characters do more than make the political become personal- they embody the political.

The story of Zahra chronicles the journey of a young woman during the Lebanese civil war. Her tumultuous childhood and young adulthood involves familial abuse, abortions, travelling to visit an exiled uncle in Africa, a failed marriage, and more. The writing is compelling, v
...more
Kate
May 04, 2014 Kate rated it really liked it
This novel begins with Zahra as a young girl living with her family in Beirut. Her parents mistreat her, and she runs away to live with her uncle in Africa. When he eventually begins sexually abusing her, she reluctantly agrees to an arranged marriage with some other man, a marriage that ultimately fails. After the divorce, she returns to Beirut, which is now entrenched in civil war. The streets are dangerous for many reasons, but especially because of the sniper who sits on a rooftop on Zahra’s ...more
Fatma Elsayed
روايه كئيبه اقل ما يقال عنها بس متقدرش تقول عليها ممله اسلوب حنان ممتع و يخليك تكمل للاخر الجزء الاول في روايه عجبني لانها اتكلمت عن كل شخصيه علي حدا و قدرت تعرف كل شخصيه حاسه بايه للاسف ما الروايه ما استمرتش علي نفس المنوال يعني في شخصيات تحسها مبتوره وًاحداث كان ممكن تاخد تفاصيل اكتر يمكن علشان تقدر تفهمها وًتفهم هي حاسه بايه ؟! في حين في احداث تانيه بتتكرر وفيها اسهاب يعني ممكن تقول ان هي روايه نسائيه بتحكي عن الانثي المقهوره في المجتمع الذكوري علي اد ما زعلت علي النهايه لزهره و كنت اتمني نها ...more
Harun Harahap
"sebuah karya yang sangat anggun , yang pasti akan mengubah prasangka dangkal tentang perempuan muslim sekarang ini"

itu review dari san fransisco chronicle...

"sebuah karya yang sangat rendahan , yang pasti akan mengubah prasangka baik tentang perempuan muslim sekarang ini"

itu review dari gw..
Tasha
Aug 20, 2009 Tasha rated it did not like it
This was painful. I know that it was designed to juxtapose the protagonist's mental state with the state of Lebanon during war, but it was still extremely painful, and I found myself hoping that Zahra would just die to end both of our misery during a good portion of the book.
Susannah Sanford mcdaniel
This book is so very sad. The story is of a young woman growing up in pre-war and mid-war Beirut, Lebanon. Zahra presumably has some form of mental illness and has been brutally traumatized in her childhood, and she is used and abused by everyone around her. The males in her life force you to question her reliability as a narrator, but, in the end, it is she who can see how she is being used and begins to use herself and find some agency.

If you're into reading something depressing but well-writ
...more
Nuzhat
Jun 26, 2010 Nuzhat rated it liked it
Quite depressing book & somewhat confusing too when the author skips back anf forth between time past and present. I liked it enough to finish it, but wow not an uplifting, feel-good book at all.
Hafsa
Jun 05, 2007 Hafsa rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone interested in modern Arab literature
A really interesting and complex account of war-torn Lebanon from a female's perspective. Brings up many issues relating to gender and war--definitely one of my favorites.
Intisar Borqan
Mar 07, 2014 Intisar Borqan rated it it was ok
ليست بمستوى كتابات حنان الشيخ السابقة
لم افهم منها الكثير لكن لم استطع الا ان ابدي تعاطفي مع زهرااء في قرارها الاخير ..
nabaa mahboba
رواية تقول بين صفحاتها أن الطفولة هي سبب رئيسي لمرحلة النضج ،و ما يلي من المراحل .. فزهرة لم تملك طفولة طبيعية ، بل صدمات ولدت فيها مخاوف لكونها فتاة اولاً ثم بسبب ما يحيط بها و بطلك نشأت تنظر الى كل شي بخوف تفتقر رؤية الصورة المتكاملة و ترى الخوف فقط ، فتتخلى عن كل شي متخيله بتخليها ستجد الأمان رغم انها لم تجده يوماً ، تستلم لكل شي الا للخوف تبحث دائما عن منفذ لخوفها رغم ان استسلامها هو ما يجلب هذا الخوف الذي تعالجه باستسلامها ايضاً، و أستمر الأمر معها الى نهاية حياته .
هناك الكثير من المشاعر و
...more
Mohammed Kh
Jan 23, 2016 Mohammed Kh rated it liked it
ما هو المقدار الصحيح للمعانة والذي ينبغي للكاتب ان يلزمه؟
الاجابة عند حنان الشيخ هي 'ما لا نهاية'
طيب ليه يا شيخة حرام عليك .
في روايتها حنان الشيخ كشفت عن معاناة الانثى في بلد طحنته الحرب وقد يصح القول ان التركيز في بداية الرواية كان على ام تلك الفتاه التي وجدت نفسها مكرهة امام الاستمرار بعلاقة زوجية انتجت طفلة رافقتها في زياراتها الغرامية مع عشيقها الذي تلتقيه سرا بالرغم من ادراك زوجها لتلك العلاقة تتمواج الرواية بين احداث قد تبدو للقارىء بانها لا واقعيه تدعوك لكي تتفكر جيدا حولك تنظر في التصرفا
...more
Bayan Abdul-hadi
Aug 02, 2014 Bayan Abdul-hadi rated it it was ok
I had a hard time deciding whether I liked this book or completely loathed it!
Zahra was impossible to understand. Book two was irrelevant, as if written by a completely different writer. At too many points I hated how the author exaggerated almost everything. I hated the repetition, as if the purpose was to brainwash you to think like Zahra, to be Zahra for just a moment, but was unsuccessful. All the same I liked her style of writing. Maybe I'll pick up another book of hers one day, not anytime
...more
Eileen
Jun 21, 2016 Eileen rated it really liked it
Zahra is an outsider: a lonely young woman who just can't fit in. She accompanies her mother to secret meetings with an illicit lover and chafes at the preferential treatment given to her brother Ahmad. Her father is a stern disciplinarian who lashes out at her for picking the pimples on her face and savagely beats her mother when he learns of the affair. A fling with Malek, an older, married man, results in two abortions. Desperate for an escape, Zahra flees to an uncle exiled (for political re ...more
Anna Oates
Apr 28, 2016 Anna Oates rated it it was ok
While this book didn't make it into my favorites, I think it had some good qualities about it and addressed certain topics that need to be spoken about. The story of Zahra starts a little slow in my opinion, but once I made it to the second half of the book I found myself trying to read faster and faster so I could know the ending.

I liked the twists and turns this novel had to offer, they kept the plot moving in a nice and dynamic way. I think that the characters were very well developed, or at
...more
Jason
Jan 08, 2016 Jason rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, romance
While it's not difficult to admire and appreciate how radical this work's frank discussion of female infidelity, marital discontent and general sexuality must have been in the context of the Middle East in the mid-1980s, context alone does it make it any easier to connect to such a nonlinear and abstract work populated exclusively by flat, unrelatable characters. Purportedly, the book is influenced by the author's own life. While some great fiction comes from autobiographical elements, here thes ...more
Araz Kojayan
Jan 12, 2015 Araz Kojayan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Araz by: Vahakn Keshishian
Wow, at last it is over.

I don't know what to think about you Zahra.

First you took me to your childhood in an attempt to understand you, to enter into your mind, not judge you and to feel your heartaches. I was with you every time your mother was with that man. I was with you whenever your brother had to eat the meat and you got the bone.

Why did you go to Africa? Why did they send you to your uncle? But anyway you were alienated from your own home, you were as alienated as they could make you
...more
Maya Taha
Mar 16, 2016 Maya Taha rated it did not like it
The first half of this book is horrible. From incest to confusion it doesn't get worse. For anyone who wants to learn more about Lebanese or Middle Eastern culture, I don't recommend it. This book was meant to be read by people familiar with Lebanese culture as it wastes no time explaining it at all. It is a good book to read if you're interested in depression and anxiety. However, it is very dull and boring up until Zahra returns to Beirut. Things get a little more interesting then but I would ...more
Christine
Oct 30, 2014 Christine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars

I've heard that this book is very grim. The grimmest of all the books I've read and will read for this class so I knew what I was getting into. However, I also heard it is very powerful. I had hoped the lower rating of this book was because of the grimness and not the quality. And I was absolutely right - it was beautifully written, telling the fatefully troubled, miserable life of Zahra while depicting the violence and grimness in Beirut bluntly. This book was also a bit explicit - wel
...more
Ghiwa Abi Haidar
Mar 07, 2015 Ghiwa Abi Haidar rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Meg Kendrick
Dec 24, 2015 Meg Kendrick rated it it was amazing
I read this book in my junior year of high school. I believe that every book speaks to one's innermost self, whether a person likes the book or not, and this is one of the books I consider pivotal to the person I am today. The book led me to question the American perspective and rhetoric and taught me to value the search for a new perspective.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 59 60 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • مجنون الحكم
  • Pillars of Salt
  • تغريبة بني حتحوت : إلى بلاد الشمال
  • Men in the Sun and Other Palestinian Stories
  • سلطانة
  • رامة والتنين
  • وسمية تخرج من البحر
  • المرأة والوردة
  • عائشة
  • الرجع البعيد
  • سأهبك مدينة أخرى
  • الشراع والعاصفة
  • المجوس
  • God Dies By The Nile
  • لعبة النسيان
  • الأفيال
  • الحي اللاتيني
  • Unfortunately, It Was Paradise: Selected Poems
54856
Hanan Al-Shaykh (Arabic: حنان الشيخ) is a Lebanese journalist, novelist, short-story writer, and playwright.
Al-Shaykh was born into a conservative Shia' Muslim family. She received her primary education in Beirut, and later she attended the American College for Girls in Cairo.
Al-Shaykh began her journalism career in Egypt before returning to Lebanon. She has also lived in Saudi Arabia and is curr
...more
More about Hanan Al-Shaykh...

Share This Book