Thursday, August 26, 2010

Girls of Riyadh

Originally released in Arabic in 2005, Girls of Riyadh was immediately banned in Saudi Arabia due to controversial and inflammatory content. Black-market copies of the novel circulated and Girls of Riyadh has been a bestseller across much of the Middle East. As of January 2008, English copies of Girls of Riyadh are openly available at major bookstores in Saudi Arabia. The book, published by Penguin Books, is available in the English translation, but has some changes due to difficulties of re-creating the effect of using different dialects of Arabic.

The novel describes the relationship between men and women in the conservative Saudi-Arabian Islamic culture. Girls of Riyadh tells the story of four college-age high class friends in Saudi Arabia, girls looking for love but stymied by a system that allows them only limited freedoms and has very specific expectations and demands. There's little contact between men and women -- especially single teens and adults -- but modern technology has changed that a bit (leading to young men trying everything to get women to take down their cellphone numbers). The Internet is also a new medium that can't contain women and their thoughts like the old system could, and the anonymous narrator of the novel takes advantage of that: she presents her stories in the form of e-mails that she sends out weekly to any Saudi address she can find. Sex is described in this novel, and how men ignore women if they give themselves up before marriage.
Source: Wikipedia

I couldn't leave Dubai then without this book.  Apparently, the copies were sold out in the city bookstores or...  So when hub and I found a copy at the airport's Duty Free, I had one for myself like an excited little girl.  And when it comes to reading a book I knew I wanted, there's just no time to waste. 


Ratz said...


sounds like a good book..

Anonymous said...

Hahaha! You really did not waste a single second to read that book.

Too bad i may not be able to read that very interesting novel. Sigh!

Emily Jane said...

Sounds like a great book - that's crazy they were all sold out!!

sEy said...

I want to find a copy of that book. If it will narrate the history of one country even incomplete that would be great.

i'm no miss said...

Ratz- yup:) the reviews aren't that good in terms of writing, probably because it was just translated from arabic

Mitch - it's more like a true account of what's happening with some girls in Saudi. That's why it's controversial. I've always been curious of their women, you know, those that wear covering from head to toe. But most of them are so beautiful..

It's like a version of sex and the city only the women here are from the Arabs..

Em- I guess, for some reason, it was "sold out" there. But when I checked here in our country, it's not:)

Sey - I saw one when I got back here, and it was cheaper here.

Anonymous said...

You mean we have that book here? (i saw your response to Emily) I have to check it out then. Yeah, i'd always been curious about them too since a friend of mine told me some stories while she was living in Saudi. She even liked Islam. Really need another trip to the bookstore soon.

i'm no miss said...

@Mitch - I believe so Mitch :) The one I saw quite some time ago was even on sale. Guess, not so many people want to buy it, or it isn't just as popular..

KleinsteMotte said...

The more things are banned the more intriguing they become. Is the author female?

i'm no miss said...

@Cher - Yup. Rajaa Alsanea.
Al-Sanea grew up in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the daughter of a family of doctors. She currently lives in Chicago where she is a dental graduate student. She received her bachelor's degree in Dentistry from King Saud University in 2005. (Wiki)

janjan said...

the plot sounds interesting. i might check it out....if there are still copies.

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