Egyptian Austen?

Distant View of a Minaret and Other Stories - Alifa Rifaat, أليفة رفعت

 

 

                This is a collection of short stories, that are by and large short, set in Egypt (mostly Cairo), and told from the viewpoint of women.  To say that Rifaat is a feminist, at least in the board Western use of the term wouldn’t quite be right.  The stories are not advocating women moving out of the household, but more

 

                Quite frankly Rifaat reminds me of Jane Austen.   Not in the sense of writing manners and marriage, but in the sense of writing about the quiet things, in the sense of being able to do so much with a simple turn or phrase of a sentence.

 

                A large portion of the stories focus on marriage or coming to terms with what a marriage is, in particular, how a woman is forced to adapt to a marriage where her wants (sexual and emotional) are not the primary focus.  There are also a few stories about how society forces women to act a certain way.

 

                Still, Egyptian Austen, at least in terms of the wonderful writing.