Bahiah Shaheen, an eighteen-year-old medical student and the daughter of a prominent Egyptian public official, finds the male students in her class coarse and alien. Her father, too, seems to belong to a race apart. Frustrated by her hardworking, well-behaved, middle-class public persona, her meeting with a stranger at a gallery one day proves to be the beginning of her road to self-discovery and the start of her realisation that fulfilment in life is indeed possible. ''These two women live, to some degree, in every thinking woman.'' New York Times Book Review ''... an intensely told story ... A valuable opportunity to understand more clearly the currents of thought regarding women in a culture vastly different from the West.'' Christian Science Monitor ''At a time when nobody else was talking, [El Saadawi] spoke the unspeakable.'' Margaret Atwood, BBC Imagine ''The leading spokeswoman on the status of women in the Arab world'' The Guardian ''El Saadawi writes with directness and passion'' New York Times ''A poignant and brave writer'' Marie Claire ''El Saadawi has come to embody the trials of Arab feminism'' San Francisco Chronicle
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