Nine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic Women is the story of Brooks’ intrepid journey toward an understanding of the women behind the veils, and of the often contradictory political, religious, and cultural forces that shape their lives. In fundamentalist Iran, Brooks finagles an invitation to tea with the ayatollah’s widow—and discovers that Mrs. Khomeini dyes her hair.
In Saudi Arabia, she eludes the severe segregation of the sexes and attends a bacchanal, laying bare the hypocrisy of this austere, male-dominated society. In war-torn Ethiopia, she watches as a female gynecologist repairs women who have undergone genital mutilation justified by a distorted interpretation of Islam.
In villages and capitals throughout the Middle East, she finds that a feminism of sorts has flowered under the forbidding shroud of the chador as she makes other startling discoveries that defy our stereotypes about the Muslim world. Nine Parts of Desire is much more than a captivating work of firsthand reportage; it is also an acute analysis of the world’s fastest-growing religion, deftly illustrating how Islam’s holiest texts have been misused to justify the repression of women. It was, after all, the Shiite leader Ali who proclaimed that “God created sexual desire in ten parts, then gave nine parts to women.”
“Frank, enraging, and captivating.” (The New Yorker)
“Powerful and enlightening...Brooks presents stunning vignettes of Muslim women...and carefully distinguishes misogyny and oppressive cultural traditions from what she considers the true teachings of the Koran.” (Publishers Weekly)
“There has been nothing finer on the subject from a Western observer...she looks at it from the heart...mixing historical perspective with piercingly observed journalism.” (Newsday)
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Very enlightening and engaging
This book was an enthralling and enlightening insight into the life of Islamic women from the perspective of an author who gave a balanced and beautifully scribed perspective on such a complex and intriguing topic.
The backdrop of the book is an (obviously) very interesting decade in the author's life, but the main focus is on the characters and lives of the Islamic women the author has the opportunity to observe and sometimes befriend.
The book is very nicely narrated and I was sorry when it ended. I would definitely recommend this book to anybody who would like to broaden their horizons and learn about women of a different culture and religion.
- Kindle Customer