"Told in the form of dreams and living parables, Fatma is full of vivid descriptions that billow from Alem's bottomless well of Saudi culture. Nuggets of wisdom are sequestered within these languid lines of prose like diamonds in the rough."—Virginia Quarterly Review
"One might consider this tale a revelation of Arabian women's inner lives in rebellion against the confines imposed on themor perhaps an exploration of innate suspicion between male and female. Or perhaps there is no identifiable meaning, just effect. The highly sensuous text was shaped by McDonough, who adds an afterword about his working relationship with the Saudi author."—Multicultural Review
"Dreams, myths, and prophecies figure prominently in this elegant and eerie tale-an unusual collaboration between the Saudi Arabian woman who wrote it in English and the American cinematographer whose revision of her manuscript thus is, and isn't literally a 'translation.' . . . A unique fever dream."—Kirkus Reviews
‘There was a blue cast to Satjma’s handsomely sculpted mesmerizing tale of earthbound witchery and celestial love.”
Fatma, an Arabian peasant girl, unwittingly embarks upon a strange journey of transformation the day her father marries her off to a snake handler. Unbeknownst to the new bride, her husband milks the venom of his snakes for use in potions he sells on the side. Bitten by one of the snakes, Fatma changes from naïve girl to sensuous woman. What’s more, she now gains an arcane affinity for her husband’s reptiles as well as a talent for controlling them. This trait will enable her to travel from the sands of Arabia to the shadows of the Netherworld beyond the realm of ordinary human experience.
Resonating with ritual and mystery, Fatma is a fabulous tale of one woman’s path to ecstasy—an enraptured vision of enchantment in this world and fulfillment in another.
The first novel to be published in English by one of the most distinguished of modern Arabic writers, this imaginative work blends naturalistic prose, poetry, and song with all the magic of its author’s abundant literary gifts.
Raja Alem is the author of seven novels, many plays, and collections of poetry. She lives in Jidda, Saudi Arabia.
Tom McDonough is the author of a novel, Virgin with Child, and a short story collection, Light Years. His cinematography won an Academy Award for the feature documentary Best Boy.
5.6 x 8.46, 0 pages