Title: When the Haboob Sings
Author: Nejoud Al-Yagout
Genre: Literary Fiction/Cultural
When Dunya Khair writes a controversial article in the newspaper challenging the status quo in her country, the response--ranging from adulation to death threats--is swift. Faced with the dissolution of familial ties and the prospective collapse of her marriage, alongside a looming nervous breakdown, Dunya's consequent actions exemplify both the strength and frailty of the human spirit. When the Haboob Sings paints a poignant picture of a woman whose unshakeable resolve to preserve her authenticity costs her more than she ever imagined.
This is an incredibly significant book that deals with a critically important subject. With the beginning of the Arab Springs there was just the slightest opening of minds towards freedom in some countries. Since those early days there have been strides forward and large steps back.
One of the most contentious issues that exist in some countries is the rights and place of women in their society.
This book tells the tale of a woman who bravely decides to flout convention and write about freedom of religious choice. The harrowing consequences that follow are both eye-opening and off putting. The author is callously jailed, and her family is besmirched with scorn thus her own familial connections are shattered. The ending is again extremely, sadly realistic. Women in some of these countries, who are brave enough to risk it all for the sake of freedom, are modern-day Joan of Arcs. The strength of the human spirit is shown to be boundless in this work. If only the leaders of certain Desert Kingdoms could read this book, then perhaps change could come at more than a snail's pace.
A powerful book.
My Rating: 4.5 stars
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Nejoud Al-Yagout, a Kuwaiti writer, moved to China with her family when she was two months old. She spent her childhood and teenage years in Italy, UAE, and Pakistan. Al-Yagout is the founder of Co-Exist Kuwait, an initiative to bridge cultural, racial, ideological, social, and financial divides in her country where she is based. When The Haboob Sings is her second novel.
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Reviewed by: Mr. N