By Nawal El Saadawi
This is the 1st quantity of the autobiography of Nawal El Saadawi, giving an emotionally shattering, yet splendidly lyrical, portrait of her youth in a distant Egyptian village -- the early life that produced the liberty fighter. She describes vividly the tradition of where and time into which she was once born and in addition her intuitive -- and encouraging -- wish to go beyond the limitations pressured upon her due to her gender. From the very begin, escaping the snatch of attainable marriage on the age of ten, we see how she moulded her personal artistic energy right into a weapon and the way using phrases grew to become an act of uprising opposed to injustice, top first to her profession as a doctor and eventually to her iconic prestige as a novelist and political activist.
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Extra info for A Daughter of Isis: The Early Life of Nawal El Saadawi: The Autobiography of Nawal El Saadawi
Six of the girls died, leaving my five aunts Fatma, Baheya, Roukaya, Zaynab, and the youngest Nefissa who was still suckling at her mother’s breast when her father Habash died at the age of thirty-eight. He died of bilharziasis, bleeding in his urine, like his father, like the peasants in the village had always done, throughout the ages, since the times of the pharaohs and the slaves of Egypt. The disease was a calamity sent by God as Sittil Hajja said, but biggest of all calamities were the eleven girls born to her, of whom to her misfortune only six had died, leaving five to live on.
I was afraid that my mother, or my father, or someone else, would see me crying. I move the pen in my fingers over the sheet of paper. The veins in my hand are swollen, like they were in my grandmother’s hand. Sixty-two years of my life have passed without my knowing. Parts of my life have fallen into oblivion. I try to bring them back, to haul them out of the clutches of the past. Those moments that try to escape, to disappear from my memory, or to hide from people’s eyes, moments of pain and despair, of weakness and decay, when I forgot the day, and the hour and the place where I would be, when I forgot my name and the names of my mother and father, and the village where I was born, moments of anger that took hold of me, so that I wanted to kill, moments when I would walk the streets not knowing where I was going, glimpse my face in the mirror, or the glass window of a shop, as I came to a sudden stop, struck with bewilderment at what seemed another woman’s face, dark, and pallid, and sad, The Cry in the Night 27 looking out into the world from brooding eyes, as black and as dark as the night.
4 Thank God for Our Calamities A s much as I try I cannot remember the features of my grandmother Amna. All I can remember are her eyes. The whites of her eyes were coloured grey. The blacks of her eyes did not exist. I used to ask my mother where they had gone. Were they hidden under her lids or had they dissolved into the whites? I used to think she was blind, but she would follow everything from where she sat on the couch in the big hall. She wore a white silken tarha around her head. Between her hands rolled the yellow prayer beads, and her lips muttered verses from the Qur’an.
A Daughter of Isis: The Early Life of Nawal El Saadawi: The Autobiography of Nawal El Saadawi by Nawal El Saadawi