Lindsay's Reviews > Woman at Point Zero

Woman at Point Zero by Nawal El Saadawi
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Oct 12, 08

bookshelves: feminist-literature, fiction, read-for-school, read-in-college, favorites, plucky-heroines
Recommended to Lindsay by: Literature of Human Rights class
Recommended for: everybody
Read in October, 2004, read count: 2

This short novel is actually one long monologue, with the protagonist, Firdaus, telling her story to the narrator, a nameless female doctor who comes to visit her in prison a few days before she is to be hanged. Firdaus has killed a man, and is quite unrepentant about it. Indeed, she tells the narrator that if she were released, she would kill more men.

Firdaus's story, and the stark, haunting way El Saadawi tells it, grip the reader by the guts. I'm not sure any book I read before this one made me feel as intensely as this one did --- sadness and anger at all the injustice in Firdaus's life.

Firdaus is a compelling narrator, with a simple but crystal-clear worldview. A prostitute, she maintains that the only difference between her position and that of every other woman in Egyptian society is that she can name her price.

Nawal El Saadawi writes in Arabic, and every one of her books I have read has been translated into English by her husband, Sherif Hetata. The stark beauty and lyricism I encounter in her prose is a product of his artistry as well as hers.
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