DubaiReader's Reviews > The Last Chapter

The Last Chapter by Leila Abouzeid
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Sep 11, 2010

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bookshelves: kutub-bk-grp, 2010
Read in September, 2010

A Moroccan woman struggles for independence.

Although this is only a short book (168pg), I didn't find it a quick read; I had to really concentrate to get to the point the author was trying to make. The narrative consisted of several distinct episodes in the life of a semi-fictitious woman, apparently mirroring that of the author. Everyone seems to be ultimately diappointing - her childhood friend, her boss, her lovers.
It struck me that the problems she encounters are symptomatic of many countries in transition from a male dominated society to one of increased freedom for women. Saudi Arabia is another example that immediately comes to mind.
The major complication was that she did not want to turn her back on Islam and live a Western life - she was a believer and as such, needed to reconcile her beliefs with the desire to make her own choices and live an independent life. While this made sense to her, she was fighting against many centuries of ingrained behaviour to the contrary.
I think it is interesting that she has translated her own work, at least we can be sure that her meaning has been retained.

I read this book as a member of a bookgroup that included both Muslim and non-Muslim women. This helped put a lot of it into context; it may be more difficult to approach without the benefit of such diverse views. However, I would not want to discourage anyone from reading it if it helps foster understanding into other viewpoints.
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