Monday, 23 June 2014

Scheherazade Goes West: Different Cultures, Different Harems by Fatema Mernissi

Fatema Mernissi is a feminist Moroccan writer. I had the possibility to discover her with the book that had made her famous, Dreams of Trespass: Tales of a Harem Girlhood, many years ago.
The current book is a discovery of the western world by an eastern female eye. The writer goes to travel around the West world trying to understand why in the western culture there is a happy idea of the harem, seen as an earthen paradise of sex and seduction, while in reality they are places of slavery and submission. This research touches philosophy, art and literature from France to New York, in a very fascinating way.
What emerges eventually is that the west is not the 'women happy world' as it is in the fantasy of every one. Women might not need to wear a veil but they are "forced" to respect a precise beauty standard that prevent them of another kind of freedom: the freedom to appear as they want!!
Of course the matter is not so simple and maybe the book lacks many other aspects that in my opinion define the concept of freedom. However, the broader point of view from the western culture is interesting and brings to discussion.
What is sad is that in 2014, in every country we are still discussion women rights, as something to conquer and not something that should be part of every culture and country.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas

We are in Australia where a family is hosting a bbq with friends. The atmosphere is relaxed and joyful, till one of the guest slaps a kid: he is not his son! The scene gets tense and all the guests get affected in a different way from the incident. Or at least this is what they think you should expect from the book.
But there is only one real thing happening in this book: SEX!! But not in a way that fits and adds something to the reading, no, just sex. The most used words in the text, and you don't need to count them to realize, are: fxck, cxck and cxnt; and don't think that things are subtle, NO! They are thrown on your face in a silly and sick way. I finished the book 'cause I was too shocked to think the book would be all like this, but yes, no hope, it is, till the end, where, if possible, gets even worse.

The concept and the idea of the book was nice and also the fact that every chapter evaluates the event in the perspective of one of the guest of the bbq, but the story itself could have been written in 50-70 pages, the other 300 are an offense to the intelligence of the reader.
Let's get things clear, if i want a porn book I buy one (and I am sure there are much better on the market), but if I buy a novel where nowhere is clarified to be a porn, I get pissed.

Dear Christos Tsiolkas I would like to "slap" this book on your face!

p.s. If someone here has read the book and found some deep meaning I didn't see, without rhetoric, I would like to discuss about it, really!

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

The Family Way by Tony Parsons

I started this book with no expectations; I was going through the phase of opening and closing books after few pages losing interest. This book got me from the beginning so for sure it has the merit to bring me out of my reading block.
The book is about 3 sisters, but is also about 6 men that cross, willingly or not, the life of the 3 protagonists. The 3 sisters have all different personalities but the family bond keep them together to face first youth and then adult life. The thinking and the behaviours of the protagonists are described so much in details that I find it difficult to believe the book was actually written by a man.

It was a nice reading, nothing exceptional; but if you are looking for something light and not demanding this might be the right books

p.s. be prepared to hate a bit the man kind during the reading!!!