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Pigerne fra Riyadh (2005)

af Rajaa Alsanea

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1,0846714,358 (3.38)74
This debut novel, banned in the author's own country, reveals the social, romantic, and sexual tribulations of four young women from the elite classes of Saudi Arabia. Every week after Friday prayers, the anonymous narrator sends an email to the female subscribers of her online chat group. In fifty such emails over the course of a year, we witness the tragicomic reality of four university students negotiating their love lives, their professional success, and their rebellions, large and small, against their cultural traditions. The world these women inhabit is a modern one that contains "Sex and the City," dating, and sneaking out of their parents' houses, and all this causes the girls to collide endlessly with ancient customs. The never-ending cultural conflicts underscore the tumult of being an educated modern woman growing up in the 21st century amid a culture firmly rooted in an ancient way of life.--From publisher description.… (mere)
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» Se også 74 omtaler

Engelsk (56)  Tysk (2)  Fransk (2)  Hollandsk (2)  Svensk (1)  Norsk (1)  Spansk (1)  Italiensk (1)  Arabisk (1)  Alle sprog (67)
Viser 1-5 af 67 (næste | vis alle)
This is my first read for 2019, even though I am in the middle of two other books. Well, today I was in the mood for a chick lit book, went to my TBR book looking through the books and The Girls of Riyadh was the one that I thought will be that will fulfill my mood.
I borrowed this book from a co-worker that liked this book. It is a book about what is going behind closed doors of the Saudi houses. It is a book that takes out the dirty laundry that not everyone is happy to expose it. This is an interesting concept about a culture that I didn’t know anything about. You hear different things, but you don’t know if it is true or false.
I liked the idea of the way the story is told as a new-age epistolary with the mail before blogging was a thing. The author had to have a lot of courage to write a book like that.
In this book, you learn about the truth about friendship, how the tribal costumes are part of Saudi-Arabia even though there are a lot of people going abroad to study, but is very hard to change the way of life and costumes once return back.
Love is a hard thing among young Saudis. You see during the story of the different plot lines of the four friends.
If you want a different kind of chick-lit, and finding out about a different culture this book for, read it open-mindedly and not with western worlds state of mind. ( )
1 stem AvigailRGRIL | Nov 5, 2020 |
Even though the gossipy format of the book wasn't exactly my cup of tea, the plight of young women of Saudi Arabia (before and right after their arranged marriages) came through rather poignantly. The humiliation they undergo during the process of arranging the marriage, having not much say in the process but hoping sincerely with all their heart for a decent husband, is overwhelming. Of course, we know in general terms about the treatment of women in Saudi Arabia, but even then it was a shock to read this explosive account of what's going on - "religious police" was one stark example...

Yet the author just touches the surface: she describes the most elite, upper-crust society of Riyadh, with all its privileges. So if those girls suffer that much, what to speak of the general population, who are not as fortunate economically... Unthinkable... (I am familiar with arranged marriages in India, but it's nothing like this, not even close...).

The author calls it "a society that raises children on contradictions and double standards", and it seems she is right about that. She calls the men of Saudi Arabia "passive and weak", "slaves to the reactionary customs and ancient traditions" and "just pawns their families move around on the chessboard" - with the result that crushes the very essence of life for young women. No wonder this book caused such a stir in the Arab world. ( )
1 stem Clara53 | Aug 20, 2020 |
It may be chick lit but it is still a good and breezy read about the lives of women in a country that is not much known to the outside world. I also like that the author doesn't just write that women are helmed in by the system, but that men too do not have a choice on who they marry. ( )
  siok | Mar 1, 2020 |
I borrowed this from the library because the description sounded kind of interesting and the audiobook is read by Kate Reading, who is one of my favorite audiobook narrators. I didn’t like the book much, but I don’t feel like I can give a fair review of it beyond that, since it is very much not the sort of thing I usually read.

Content warnings (this is not remotely comprehensive): misogyny, racism, fatphobia, dieting, mention of dubiously consentual elective medical procedure, arranged marriages, infidelity, reproductive coercion (by a husband), birth control sabotage (by a wife), controlling/abusive relationships, homophobia, lesbophobia, classism, bigotry against different Islamic sects
  bluesalamanders | Dec 31, 2018 |
This book was a great window into the reality behind my theoretical understanding of Islamic law and practice when it comes to women. There are no men as primary characters here. This is a book about women’s experiences in Saudi Arabia. Different angles and aspects are illustrated through the lives of the four (or five?) women whose experiences navigating love, relationships, sex, and marriage are described the unknown narrator’s voice. This is a modern epistolatory novel, the updates sent out via email with a discussion of reactions and comments that the narrator is receiving from her readers at the beginning of each chapter. But these women are from the “velvet” set: relatively well-off and mobile women who can shake off the shackles once in a while with a trip away from the country where they can let their hair out and down away from the policing and prying eyes of other Saudis. I can only imagine how it is for the more marginalized parts of Saudi society who don’t have the ability to escape the oppression. I admit that I don’t have a lot of other experience with Saudi culture to juxtapose this book with; only Abdelraman Munif’s City of Salt, in which women are pretty invisible and in which it is never specifically stated that the setting is Saudi Arabia. One of the women sums up the situation pretty succinctly in this passage: ‘[Saudi men are]...passive and weak. They are slaves to reactionary customs and ancient traditions even if their enlightened minds pretend to reject such things! That's the mold for all men in this society. They’re just pawns their families move around on a chessboard! I could have challenged the whole world if my love had been from somewhere else, not a crooked society that raises children on contradictions and double standards. A society where one guy divorces his wife because she's not responsive enough in bed to arouse him, while the other divorces his wife because she doesn't hide from him how much she likes it!"’

Lest this review be seen as a polemic against Islam or Saudis, I will state that I’m a yogi that isn’t affiliated with any of the established religions or sub-religions. I’m a satyagraha who believes in non-harm, so I am supportive and appreciative of those parts of all the world’s religions, beliefs, and societies that don’t oppress or do harm to other inside or outside of their personal beliefs and institutions. So I am equally critical of the damage Christian fundamentalism and other “-isms” are doing to women in my country. But I am very familiar with that side, having grown up with the expansion of Civil and Women’s Rights and now having to watch it rolled back by fascism and fundamentalism. This is why I read so wide. I am expanding my world view by reading literature from other countries, languages, and cultures to wrap my head around our differences and try to walk a path of peace and love through those differences. It is especially gratifying when the voice of the writer is from a woman’s or other marginalized perspective. Books like this broaden my understanding of the world in ways that one from the dominant voice of a religion, country, or culture can’t. As one would expect, this book was a sensation in the Arab world that was simultaneously celebrated and condemned depending on the reader’s perspective and privilege. I am very appreciative of the insight Alsanea has given me by writing (and translating) this novel even as I understand she is not speaking necessarily for all Saudis.
1 stem jveezer | Jul 6, 2018 |
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Rajaa Alsaneaprimær forfatteralle udgaverberegnet
Aabakken, AnneOversættermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Booth, MarilynOversættermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Colombo, ValentinaOversættermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Corthay, SimonOversættermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Mossaad, AntonOversættermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Rooke, TetzOversættermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Smiths-Jacob, BertaOversættermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
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To my most beloved; Mom and sister Rasha and to all my friends, the Girls of Riyadh
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Ladies and Gentlemen: You are invited to join me in one of the most explosive scandals and noisiest, wildest all-night parties around.
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This debut novel, banned in the author's own country, reveals the social, romantic, and sexual tribulations of four young women from the elite classes of Saudi Arabia. Every week after Friday prayers, the anonymous narrator sends an email to the female subscribers of her online chat group. In fifty such emails over the course of a year, we witness the tragicomic reality of four university students negotiating their love lives, their professional success, and their rebellions, large and small, against their cultural traditions. The world these women inhabit is a modern one that contains "Sex and the City," dating, and sneaking out of their parents' houses, and all this causes the girls to collide endlessly with ancient customs. The never-ending cultural conflicts underscore the tumult of being an educated modern woman growing up in the 21st century amid a culture firmly rooted in an ancient way of life.--From publisher description.

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