A woman is no Man – Etaf Rum.

It’s all about the choices you have!!

Just finished reading this poignant tale of love and loss. The book kept me hooked till the end. It made me cry, made me think at the unfairness in life, but also left a glimmer of hope.

Isra, Deya and Sarah are the main protagonists. Isra makes a choice, fails in it badly and dies. Deya her daughter remembers her only in tit bits, and only the sad parts of the story. Sarah her aunt makes a choice, is successful to build a life but regrets it living her life all alone.

Females over centuries have lived their life in oppression. Be it any religion, any country, the very reason that is her strength becomes her weakness. She who bears a child 9 months in her womb, gets mocked by the same.

Isra sees early on that she’s a burden to the family. She cannot do or get the freedom her brothers have. Yet she dreams of love, of choices, of freedom. She makes a choice but by then it’s too late.

Deya, only remembers Isra’s sadness. She knows she does not want the life Isra had, but will she be able to escape from the vicious circle. Does she have a choice?

Sarah knows she has a choice, but will her choices keep her happy. Could she have done what she did the other way?

Through these three females, Author Etaf Rum brings forth the story of Palestinian immigrants. Isra at the tender age of 17 gets married to Adam, who had immigrated to America. She comes to this family, hopeful of a new beginning, but soon realizes that a woman is no man. She is the salt, the backbone, yet whether Palestine or America ( for that matter any country ) she is the property of her father or her husband.

Sarah her sister in law is raised in America, and questions this logic of why she should be dependent on a man.

Tragedy ensues.

Years later, Sarah meets Deya, Isra’s daughter. Together will they be able to change the mindset that a girl is no burden.

It’s a deeply touching tale. It is debut novel of Author Etaf Rum and she’s done a brilliant job.

Where I come from, voicelessness is the condition of my gender, as normal as the bosoms on a woman’s chest, as necessary as the next generation growing inside her belly

Woman’s voice is not supposed to be heard. So Isra’s voice is not heard, not to her mother or her mother in law or her husband. She bears physical violence first at the hands of her father, then her husband, but she learns to hide it. She silences herself to please others only to realize that if she can’t keep herself happy she won’t be able to pass the trait of being happy to her daughters.

A daughter was only a temporary guest, quietly awaiting another man to scoop her away, along with all her financial burden.

She goes through multiple pregnancies awaiting a son. Every pregnancy breaks her, till she realizes she doesn’t want to become pregnant again. Isn’t this the story everywhere? Not just the Arabs, but in Indians too ?

Some days it feels like time is slipping through my fingers like water, as though one day I’ll wake up to find it all gone

The book is also a sensitive potrayal of motherhood. Through Isra and Fareeda, the author brings out the fears of every woman who is also a mother. Fareeda is afraid Sarah will bring them shame, so she wants to marry her off. Isra is afraid that her daughters will not have choices just like her. She is afraid that her sadness will rub off on her daughters. She is afraid that one day she will be like Fareeda. She realizes she has to do something before it is too late. But would she be able to do?

I just loved reading this and the book left me wanting more.

Title : A woman is no man.

Author : Eltaf Rum

Genre : Fiction

Amazon India price : kindle (RS 523) , Hardcover (RS 1700 )

My Rating ⭐⭐ ⭐⭐

The book has been choosen for Goodreads Readers Award for best fiction and best Debut novel, 2019.

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