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Seven

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4.28  ·  Rating details ·  248 ratings  ·  65 reviews
When Sharifa accompanies her husband on a marriage-saving trip to India, she thinks that she's going to research her great-great-grandfather, a wealthy business leader and philanthropist. What captures her imagination is not his rags-to-riches story, but the mystery of his four wives, missing from the family lore. She ends up excavating much more than she had imagined.

Shar
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Audible Audio, Unabridged
Published September 8th 2020 by Penguin Random House Canada (first published September 5th 2020)
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Average rating 4.28  · 
Rating details
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Fanna
December 09, 2020: A Manhattan-based school teacher—Sharifa—is stultified in her work and marriage so a quick trip to Mumbai, a city in India, for eight months is planned to possibly resuscitate the loosening bonds; plus, Sharifa can finally research about her great, great-grandfather who was once an immensely rich philanthropist. But landing in this new city that the main character does have cultural ties to, her family's history doesn't seem to just be an impressive leap of faith landing them ...more
Jade  @theelderbooks
Seven is an important book. It deals with a traditional, yet very contemporary topic : Female Genital Mutilation. I'll shorten it to FGM throughout this review.

Sharifa goes to India to explore her heritage, and create a genealogy tree around Abdoolally (hoping I'm spelling it right, I'm horrible at this), as she gets curious about the various wives he had, that aren't really included in the family history. However, she ends up doing way more than this, and she uncovers the truth about the FGM's
...more
Michelle Jacobsen
"... while the men might have made the rules, it is the women, women I've loved, who've enforced them."

Since finishing Seven last night I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this line and the way the book ended. Doctor has written a powerhouse novel about the Dawoodi-Bohra community, a community that I was previously was not familiar with. The way the characters were portrayed and especially the way that Khatna (female genital mutilation) was discussed will resonate with the reader long af
...more
Jen Bober
Nov 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was beautifully written and just so enlightening. I was deeply moved by the story of Sharifia as she embarks on a family trip to India to visit relatives and to try and save her marriage. What she ends up finding is something more. A story of culture beliefs, love, betrayal and standing up for female rights. This book looks at khatna which is a controversial topic. It explores why khatna is part of the Indian culture and more importantly explores the risks and trauma victims of this fa ...more
Surbhi Sinha
Mar 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
"... while the men might have made the rules, it is the women, women I've loved, who've enforced them."

When I read the synopsis of the book, I was a bit hesitant about reading the book as I felt it might be a very heavy read but as I made my way through Sharifa's life, I couldn't get myself to put the book down!

Sharifa is a school teacher in Manhattan who lives with her husband - Murtuza and her 7 year old daughter - Zeenat. While life for her is passing by fairly well she seems to be bored of h
...more
Zainub Reads
Mar 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sharifa, a teacher by profession takes a hiatus from work and accompanies her husband, Murtuza, a professor, on a work trip of eight months to Mumbai, India along with their seven year old daughter.

They belong to the Dawoodi-Bohra community which is a lesser know sub-sect of the Shias.

While on her vacation Sharifa is intrigued by the life and times of her great-great-grandfather who was known Patriarch and she sets on about uncovering his past and rediscovering her own roots in the process.

The B
...more
Toronto Bibliophile
Just finished reading SEVEN by Farzana Doctor, a new to me Canadian author. Official publication date was yesterday September 5th, 2020.

Sharifa and her seven year old daughter Zee are joining her husband Murtuza on a work trip to India. Sharifa plans to research her great-great-grandfather Abdoolally, a wealthy and generous business man while she is there. But what actually captures her attention is not his story, but rather the story of his four wives.

Sharifa's trip also happens during a time o
...more
Catherine Hernandez
Seven by Farzana Doctor explores the emotional truths behind the practice of female genital mutilation while compassionately teasing out the complexities of kinship, feminism and marriage. It is a brilliant read that urges readers to move past the headlines and into the mind of one woman as she reconnects with her body, her past.
Laura
Sep 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a page turner! I started reading and could not sleep - As with all really good books, I rushed to the end and now I am sad it is over.

I found myself very involved with, because I identified a lot with the main character of the book. Specifically, I found her struggle for balance, comprehension, peace and doing the right thing in untenable circumstances to be completely believable. This need for balance struck a personal cord with me.
I also identified with her quest to find the story of
...more
Mridula
Aug 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
*Spoilers ahead*

I picked up this book to prepare a bit for our local online literary festival expected this fall. I didn't quite know what to expect and was pleasantly surprised. The tale focuses on Sharifa, her family (both nuclear and extended), and friends as they negotiate the terrain of khatna (female genital cutting) as it was/is practiced in India.

Doctor uses a thoughtful feminist gaze with engaging characters and we're given the full spectrum of of how women respond to this practice. I l
...more
Gaele

The story follows Sharifa, her husband Murtuza and their seven-year-old daughter Zeenat. Sharifa and her husband are both educators, she’s also American-born, and they are members of the Dawoodi-Bohra community, a sect that I had never heard of, but is related to the Shia. More conservative and traditional, the opportunity while Murtuza is teaching in Mumbai gives Sharifa the opportunity to research her great grandfather, while connecting with her extended family and reconnecting with her husba
...more
Grand Admiral Tofu King
Seven by Farzana Doctor is an #OwnVoices Indian fiction literature novel about a woman named Sharifa who travels to India with her husband with the hopes of learning more about her great-great-grandfather who was an immensely successful businessman and a philanthropist. During her research, however, instead of discovering a tale of rags-to-riches, Sharifa learns that her grandfather had four wives, all of whom had been omitted from the family’s lore. As she becomes more and more engrossed in the ...more
Enid Wray
Nov 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! And this is why I so love Farzana Doctor. As with her prior novels, she writes beautifully, creating complex and conflicted characters who struggle to be true to themselves while challenging social taboos and deeply held beliefs which are engrained within their communities… whether they intend to or because it is the only way they can be true to themselves.

I’ve been teaching about FGM for almost 30 years, and I have to say that this is the first time I can recall coming across it being tack
...more
Penn Kemp
Nov 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved the magnificent Seven by Farzana Doctor (Dundurn Press). Beautiful, essential writing, so fully realized and evocative (characters/issues/sites)! As uplifting and affirming as it is a horrific portrayal of #fgm. Captivating and heart-rending. Farzana transports you to Mumbai & Gujarat. Puris galore:).
Katie
Nov 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2020
Powerful book dealing with tradition, belonging, secrets, and the power of trust.
Jane Mulkewich
Nov 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is Farzana's fourth book, and I have read and loved them all! This is the story of a woman who starts out on a genealogical history research project while in India for eight months, and she finds out much more about herself and her family and her community than she ever bargained for. I knew before reading it that it was about FGM (female genital mutilation), but in Farzana Doctor's skilful hands this is a complex story about so much more. ...more
Katrina Feraco
Nov 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, audiobooks
Wow. A powerful piece of literature about the many ways those we love us can hurt us, the ways we come to terms with and move through trauma, and the legacies our families leave, even the family members we don’t know. I loved this book.
Kristi
Oct 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
Blown away by this book. Absolutely in my top reads of 2020. Sharifa's struggle to reconcile her memories of her past, and her love for her country and family with the realities she discovers as an adult is incredibly moving. If you loved The Break by Katherena Vermette or Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda add this novel to the top of your list ASAP. ...more
Zainub Reads
Mar 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sharifa, a teacher by profession takes a hiatus from work and accompanies her husband, Murtuza, a professor, on a work trip of eight months to Mumbai, India along with their seven year old daughter.

They belong to the Dawoodi-Bohra community which is a lesser know sub-sect of the Shias.

While on her vacation Sharifa is intrigued by the life and times of her great-great-grandfather who was known Patriarch and she sets on about uncovering his past and rediscovering her own roots in the process.

The B
...more
mango_vodka
Mar 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Farzana Doctor's Seven follows Sharifa, an American-born member of the Dawoodi Bohra religious sect, through a journey of self-discovery as she comes to terms with issues related to religion, family, tradition, and sexuality. This incredible story has a lot to offer, and I really struggle to come up with a single criticism.

Sharifa and her family, including husband Murtuza and seven year old daughter Zee, travel to their ancestral home of India - Murtuza to teach at a university, and Sharifa to
...more
Fiona
Activist fiction that is nuanced, intimate and always believable in the psychology of its characters. Seven is an insightful lens on trauma and the shifting relationships between generations: all the ways communities and families can love us, sustain us, and make us feel a part of something bigger, but also the singular betrayal of being hurt by those you trust most. Would absolutely recommend this book!
Sharon Reiner
Oct 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An important, powerful book illuminating a topic that needs more exposure. Beautifully written by one of Canada’s most brilliant and insightful authors. Thank you for this gift.
Shae
Aug 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Synopsis:

A rich, soulfully written novel about inheritance and resistance that tests the balance between modern and traditional customs.

When Sharifa accompanies her husband on a marriage-saving trip to India, she thinks that she’s going to research her great-great-grandfather, a wealthy business leader and philanthropist. What captures her imagination is not his rags-to-riches story, but the mystery of his four wives, missing from the family lore. She ends up excavating much more than she had im
...more
catherine ♡
Apr 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cultural
*Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for a free copy in exchange for an honest review!*

Actual Rating: 3.75

I knew this was going to be a harrowing book just based off of the topic of khatna, the tradition of female genital cutting in India. But I didn't expect the story to go into such depth about the mental and family consequences as well, and those turned out to be my favorite parts.

The book follows Sharifa, who heads to India for two reasons: to research her philanthropist and business l
...more
MiA
Sep 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I know that this book will prove difficult to read to many, but if you are willing to give it a little time and effort to understand the huge issue that lies at its core it will be very much worth your sweat.

Sharifa takes a hiatus to join her husband, an academic, who is offered an opportunity to teach a course in India. Returning to their ancestral land brings Sharifa back to her extended family and her two cousins, one of whom is an outspoken feminist and the other is more of a non-questioning
...more
PhebeAnn
Oct 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Content note: child sexual assault (female genital mutilation)
It took this one a while to grow on me. At first I felt like it was lacking in the plot department. The plot is, in short: a first generation Indian-American woman, Sharifa, goes on a trip to India with her husband, Murtuza, also first generation Indian-American, and university professor who will be a visiting scholar there for a year, and their daughter. During this year off of work, Sharifa seeks to learn more about her family's his
...more
Andrea Spagnuolo
After reading, "Finding Nasreen," by this author, I could not wait to read more by her. Luckily for me, "Seven" was just released and I quickly put it on hold at my library without even reading what the storyline was. All I knew was that it is about female genital mutilation which is a very important topic yet not well known or understood here in the West. Having an appreciation for this topic and already falling in love with the author's writing I figured I didn't even need to know more until I ...more
Stacey Caldarone
Seven
“A brave, soulfully written feminist novel about inheritance and resistance that tests the balance between kinship and the fight against customs that harm us.”

I have to admit, I felt emotionally saddened after reading this book. It was so empowering, but it was also so unsettling. This book touches on topics I’ve never read about before in a book and touched on serious topics I didn’t realize were still culture. Thank you so much to Dundurn books for this opportunity.

This books follows a fa
...more
Liza
Aug 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This story shook me. It is powerful, gripping, and intimate on a level I’ve never experienced before. As a woman/feminist, I was thrilled to read about Sharifa, an imperfect wife and mother learning to take control of her sexuality, galvanized by an emotionally intelligent male figure (her husband). As a reader, I was equally pleased to meet a character so multifaceted, dynamic, and real. I was hooked from the beginning--Sharifa, an Indian-American woman, travels to India, embarks on a genealogi ...more
A.L. Goulden
Aug 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an amazing book that gives me chills thinking about it. I knew so little about Female Genital Mutilation but this book presents the tradition from a traditional and modern perspective and allows the reader to feel their way through the process of acceptance or rejection. The writing is beautiful and tasteful. For such a heavy subject I wasn't expecting to feel a sense of wonder and feathery flow that had me reluctant to put the book down. I was actually worried that the book may be heavy ...more
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I'm the author of Stealing Nasreen (Inanna 2007) and Six Metres of Pavement (Dundurn, 2011) and All Inclusive (Dundurn, 2015).

My fourth novel, Seven, will be on bookshelves September 2020. You can preorder now: https://anotherstory.ca/?q=h.tviewer&...
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