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A New York Times Best Seller
A Read with Jenna Today Show Book Club Pick
A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice • Washington Post 10 Books to Read in March • Marie Claire Best Women’s Fiction of 2019 • Washington Book Review Difficult-To-Put-Down Novel • The Millions Most Anticipated Books of 2019 • A USA Today Best Book of the Week • An Elaine Newton - Summer Reading List Critic’s Choice • A Girls Night In Book Club Pick
“I couldn't put it down. I was obsessed with figuring out the mystery of this family." (Jenna Bush Hager, Today Show Book Club Pick)
Three generations of Palestinian-American women living in Brooklyn are torn between individual desire and the strict mores of Arab culture in this powerful debut - a heart-wrenching story of love, intrigue, courage, and betrayal that will resonate with women from all backgrounds, giving voice to the silenced and agency to the oppressed.
"Where I come from, we’ve learned to silence ourselves. We’ve been taught that silence will save us. Where I come from, we keep these stories to ourselves. To tell them to the outside world is unheard of - dangerous, the ultimate shame.”
Palestine, 1990. Seventeen-year-old Isra prefers reading books to entertaining the suitors her father has chosen for her. Over the course of a week, the naive and dreamy girl finds herself quickly betrothed and married and is soon living in Brooklyn. There, Isra struggles to adapt to the expectations of her oppressive mother-in-law, Fareeda, and strange new husband, Adam, a pressure that intensifies as she begins to have children - four daughters instead of the sons Fareeda tells Isra she must bear.
Brooklyn, 2008. Eighteen-year-old Deya, Isra’s oldest daughter, must meet with potential husbands at her grandmother Fareeda’s insistence, though her only desire is to go to college. Deya can’t help but wonder if her options would have been different had her parents survived the car crash that killed them when Deya was only eight. But her grandmother is firm on the matter: The only way to secure a worthy future for Deya is through marriage to the right man.
But fate has a will of its own, and soon, Deya will find herself on an unexpected path that leads her to shocking truths about her family - knowledge that will force her to question everything she thought she knew about her parents, the past, and her own future.
Set in an America at once foreign to many and staggeringly close at hand, A Woman Is No Man is a story of culture and honor, secrets and betrayals, love and violence. It is an intimate glimpse into a controlling and closed cultural world and a universal tale about family and the ways silence and shame can destroy those we have sworn to protect.
"Three female narrators work together in this Palestinian family epic.... Listeners will become enmeshed in the overlapping ambitions of these fascinating women." (AudioFile)
“Sometimes heroism is loud and dramatic. Other times, it is daring to listen to that quiet voice within and having the courage to follow it. In this story, we see inside the lives of three generations of Palestinian women living in America, struggling and suffering to hear that voice. Etaf Rum has done a great service by sharing these voices with us.” (Shilpi Somaya Gowda, New York Times best-selling author of Secret Daughter and The Golden Son)
“Garnering justified comparisons to Khaled Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns... Etaf Rum’s debut novel is a must-read about women mustering up the bravery to follow their inner voice.” (Refinery29)
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- nana k
May we not bind our daughters with the same chains
A Woman Is No Man! So many themes rushing in. I have felt anger, hope , despair while reading this. As a woman I pray I do not bind my daughters and sons by the same chains society bound me with. May we give them freedom even when we lived in prisons.