Woman at Point Zero

by Nawal el Saadawi | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0862321107 Global Overview for this book
Registered by Vasha of Ithaca, New York USA on 5/24/2010
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15 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by Vasha from Ithaca, New York USA on Monday, May 24, 2010
From her prison cell, Firdaus, sentenced to die for having killed a pimp in a Cairo street, tells of her life from village childhood to city prostitute. Society's retribution for her act of defiance — death — she welcomes as the only way she can finally be free.

Journal Entry 2 by 1001-library at Helsinki, Uusimaa / Nyland Finland on Friday, May 28, 2010

Thanks so much for your donation Vasha!

This book is now part of the 1001-library. If you want to take this book from the library but don't know how to proceed, please refer to the 1001-library bookshelf.

Journal Entry 3 by Vasha at Ithaca, New York USA on Wednesday, January 12, 2011
A brutal and disturbing story, this (though mercifully short). Firdaus tells her story with an incantatory force, daring the reader to try and judge her. The reader is just as implicated as the psychiatrist in the frame story, who experiences emotions told in words that echo Firdaus's. It's a compelling reading experience to follow this woman's growing awareness, although it takes us to a nihilistic place. Some paragraphs particularly impressed me as insights, like seeing that money is treated as a tabooed, indecent thing (page 67), or the how women employees are prostitutes who sell themselves too cheap (pages 75-76).

It makes an interesting contrast to a very different Egyptian novel written a few years earlier, Miramar. Though I won't speculate on the cause of the difference between the style and perspective of the two authors (Naguib Mahfouz was a man, and twenty years older than Nawal El Saadawi, among many other things), Mahfouz wrote a book where he analyzed the failures of the male characters and thought that the woman in the story was stronger than them all; she had a lot of garbage to deal with from the men but seemed quite able to overcome it.

Journal Entry 4 by Vasha at Ithaca, New York USA on Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Released 8 yrs ago (1/17/2011 UTC) at Ithaca, New York USA

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In transit.

Journal Entry 5 by kingfan30 at Corby Glen, Lincolnshire United Kingdom on Thursday, January 27, 2011
Book has arrived safe and sound, many thanks for sending x

10 June 12 - A woman in Egypt in the 70s had very little choice what happens in their life, the options consist of becoming a slave, a wife or a prostitute. As a small girl Firdaus was abused by the people who should have cared for her the most, and when her Uncle takes her off to Cairo to look after her, after the death of her parents you hope that her life might change for the better, especially when she started school and passed her exams. Unfortunately her results don't count for much on the job front so her Uncle sells her to a man in his 60s to be his wife. Eventually she leaves and goes to work on the streets, she does try a respectable job and even that is not what it seems, so goes back to prostitution as it provides her with a decent income and she can choose who she sleeps with, which when you put it like that, who can blame her. Again you think that she is doing ok until a pimp comes on the scene, and who can blame her for defending herself, it appears the authorities don't agree. Certainly an interesting short read.



Journal Entry 6 by kingfan30 at Bourne, Lincolnshire United Kingdom on Monday, June 18, 2012

Released 6 yrs ago (6/18/2012 UTC) at Bourne, Lincolnshire United Kingdom

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

This book as starting its journey as a ray. Enjoy everyone :-)

Danielle23 UK/UK
Caroley - UK/EU
4evagreen UK/EU
Blue_berry UK/Int
EmgeeNL EU/EU
penelopewanders EU/EU
VictoriaWagtail EU/EU
GronnLivsstil EU/EU
Simson-Shilitoe EU/Int
Tubereader EU/EU
Boekentrol EU/Int
LaPitchoune EU/Int
Elskaliam EU/Int
dicentragirl US/US
stringofpearls US/Int

I'm fairly flexible about the reading in a month business, I know its not always possible, as long as it keeps moving I'll be happy. Also can you make sure it is donated back to the 1001 library once it reaches the end. Many thanks, hope everyone enjoys it :-)

Journal Entry 7 by Danielle23 at Sunderland, Tyne and Wear United Kingdom on Friday, June 29, 2012
The book is here with me, and has been for a few days actually.

I've finished the book and really enjoyed it. I enjoyed the beginning of Ferdaus' story as opposed to the end but found it all easy to read and quite enjoyable. All the men in her life seemed awful, always taking her independence and self respect especially when she felt most safe. A bit of a political statement against society IMO when she staes she's in prison not for killing a man but for standing up for herself against a corrupt system.

Will post this off as soon as I can.

Journal Entry 8 by Danielle23 at Sunderland, Tyne and Wear United Kingdom on Saturday, July 28, 2012

Released 6 yrs ago (7/28/2012 UTC) at Sunderland, Tyne and Wear United Kingdom

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Sorry for the huge delay but the book is now on its travels again. Enjoy xx

Journal Entry 9 by Caroley at Birmingham, West Midlands United Kingdom on Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Received today thanks.

Journal Entry 10 by Caroley at Birmingham, West Midlands United Kingdom on Sunday, August 19, 2012
Short but powerful. I really enjoyed the way the story was told.

Thanks for starting the ray. I'll get the book moving asap.

Journal Entry 11 by Caroley at Birmingham, West Midlands United Kingdom on Friday, August 24, 2012

Released 6 yrs ago (8/24/2012 UTC) at Birmingham, West Midlands United Kingdom

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

Posted 2nd class. Enjoy.

Journal Entry 12 by 4evagreen at Whaley Bridge, Derbyshire United Kingdom on Tuesday, August 28, 2012
This book was waiting for me when I got back from work. Will start this once I have finished my present read. Thanks all for sharing.

Journal Entry 13 by 4evagreen at Whaley Bridge, Derbyshire United Kingdom on Monday, September 03, 2012
Now at first reading this seems to be some feminist rant at the male dominated world but whilst the 'heroine' of this book is indeed a woman, as is the writer, there is more to this book than that.

The book tells the story of Firdaus who is born into poverty to a father who does not respect women and sees daughters worth in how much he can get for them by way of a dowry. Firdaus is from an early age abused sexually and physically not only by her father but also those other relatives who should be protecting her. Eventually she turns to prostitution as a means of controlling her own destiny. In the end she realises that all she is really doing is making money for different men who are supposedly proecting her, pimp, police, doctors, lawyers etc and finally is sentenced to death for killing her pimp who was trying to kill her. whereupon she finally discovers that the only way to embrace death.

Now this book is set in 1970's Egypt but it still has a relevance in todays world. Women in many parts of the world are still seen as second class citizens where discrimination is rife and opportunities are indeed limited but as I stated at the top it is not just women who have their life choices chosen for them by their birthright. So do many men. In countries where lack of affordable schooloing and a need to earn money for the family can stymie their life chances. Just look at the caste system in India for instance. After all the two most decisive factors in social progression whether female or male has to be education and opportunity. This is a book that really should be every schools reading sylybus.

For as Firdaus says "FOR DURING LIFE IT IS OUR WANTS, OUR HOPES, OUR FEARS THAT ENSLAVE US."


Journal Entry 14 by 4evagreen at Whaley Bridge, Derbyshire United Kingdom on Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Released 6 yrs ago (9/4/2012 UTC) at Whaley Bridge, Derbyshire United Kingdom

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

Moving on to the next in line in the ring. I hope that you enjoy this.

Journal Entry 15 by Blue_berry at Croydon, Greater London United Kingdom on Thursday, September 06, 2012
Received with thanks as a part of bookring.

Journal Entry 16 by Blue_berry at Croydon, Greater London United Kingdom on Friday, September 14, 2012
The story has a very strong narrative which runs like a black and white documentary, completely valid in its point, which needs to be made more often, but at the same time a desolate read.

Journal Entry 17 by Blue_berry at London, Greater London United Kingdom on Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Released 6 yrs ago (9/19/2012 UTC) at London, Greater London United Kingdom

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Sending this bookray book on to the next reader on the list in Netherlands.

Journal Entry 18 by EmgeeNL at Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland Netherlands on Monday, September 24, 2012
The book arrived. I'll start as soon as I have finished my curent book.

Journal Entry 19 by EmgeeNL at a fellow bookcrosser, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases on Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Released 6 yrs ago (10/26/2012 UTC) at a fellow bookcrosser, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

the book is on it's way to penelopewanders.

Journal Entry 20 by wingpenelopewanderswing at Hasliberg, Bern / Berne Switzerland on Wednesday, November 07, 2012
This came in while I was out of town - along with a few other rings... I'm now trying to clear the backlog in the office that piled up while I was gone. Hopefully I'll get to this soon.

Journal Entry 21 by wingpenelopewanderswing at Hasliberg, Bern / Berne Switzerland on Saturday, November 17, 2012
In my Goodreads review I've marked this as contemporary, even though it was written in the seventies. I fear this may not be out-dated.
I thought the middle part of this book, Firdaus' narrative, was compelling - a fascinating and unapologetic recounting of a woman's fate in a country where women, at the time at least, were of no account. Her reflections on the status of prostitutes compared to female employees were quite chilling, and her one foray into love, albeit almost predictable, heartwrenching.
The other chapters, in the voice of the doctor, struck me as far less effective. First of all, the voice was not at all convincingly different from that of Firdaus, which diminished the credibility of the separate narrative the author has introduced.
Nonetheless an important book.
Thanks for making it available and sending. I'm waiting for the next address.

Journal Entry 22 by wingpenelopewanderswing at Hasliberg, Bern / Berne Switzerland on Monday, November 26, 2012

Released 6 yrs ago (11/26/2012 UTC) at Hasliberg, Bern / Berne Switzerland

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

I was waiting to send this because I have another ring which will go to the next bookcrosser on this ring soon too. Then I realized that firstly, this was thin enough to go as a letter, and secondly, between work, books I have to read for work and the other rings which I have to read first, it would be another few weeks before I could read the other and send the two. So I'm sending this one on to Sweden alone. Thanks so much for making it available.

Journal Entry 23 by VictoriaWagtail at Bagarmossen, Stockholm Sweden on Monday, December 03, 2012
Thanks Penelopewanders for sending me this book, it's now with me. I'm really looking forward to reading this book by such a prominant and important voice for freedom and human rights.

Journal Entry 24 by VictoriaWagtail at Bagarmossen, Stockholm Sweden on Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Thanks everyone for making this book travel and for giving me the opportunity to read it. I've been wanting to read something by Nawal El Saadawi for quite a while now and I have several of her books at home, all candidates to become the first one of her books that I read. But thanks to this bookring Woman at Point Zero was to become the first one, and it turned out to be a great start and I'll probably read more of her soon.

I've known about Nawal El Saadawi for quite long without being familiar with her writing and she's always struck me as an exeptionally headstrong and unwavering advocate for human rights, especially the rights of women. And having read this one of her most famous books I'm now even more convinced this is really the case. The Swedish title of this book is Röst ur djupet (=Voice from the deep) and that pretty much sums up my impression of it. El Saadawi's is a voice rising from the depths of history howling, crying, screaming with ALL the injustices EVER commited against EVERY woman that has EVER lived ANYWHERE on this earth. The story about Firdaus is presented as a true story eventhough the story it self is a novel (fiction?) but if Firdaus story, as it is told in this book, has really happened or not is not relevant in my eyes. The story is true all the same, because it is the story of all women. Firdaus is all women.

This story by Nawal El Saadawi is vibrating with the rage acumulated during thousands of years of injustice and it is spot on in its descriptions and its criticism. Even though not enjoyable for its theme, it certainly is for its literary qualities. One of the absolute best books I've read in 2012 and a must read!

I've PMed the next person in line and am currently waiting for a reply.

Journal Entry 25 by VictoriaWagtail at Bagarmossen, Stockholm Sweden on Saturday, December 15, 2012

Released 6 yrs ago (12/15/2012 UTC) at Bagarmossen, Stockholm Sweden

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

The book is on its way to Norway :)

Journal Entry 26 by GronnLivsstil at Bryne, Rogaland fylke Norway on Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Recieved this book in the mail today. I'll start reading it as soon as I finish reading "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas".

Journal Entry 27 by GronnLivsstil at Bryne, Rogaland fylke Norway on Saturday, December 29, 2012
I just finished the book and I thought it was a fascinating read, though it could give you a wake up call from time to time. Now I'm just waiting for the address for the next person in line.

Journal Entry 28 by GronnLivsstil at Bryne, Rogaland fylke Norway on Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Released 6 yrs ago (1/2/2013 UTC) at Bryne, Rogaland fylke Norway

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

Sent to the next reader.

Journal Entry 29 by Simson-Shilitoe at Neewiller-près-Lauterbourg, Alsace France on Saturday, February 16, 2013
This book arrived in today´s mail alongside with "A Street Cat Named Bob" by James Bowen.

Thank you very much, GronnLivsstil, for posting and especially for the fine surprise RABCK-book.

And thank you very much, kingfan30, for including me in this bookray.

Journal Entry 30 by Simson-Shilitoe at Neewiller-près-Lauterbourg, Alsace France on Tuesday, April 02, 2013
Nawal El Saadawi has a gift -- she writes about difficult topics and issues in a very readable way.

The meat of the story is heart-wrenching and ends in bittersweet triumphance. It's a gripping tale of a woman's search for freedom from the restrictions of her Egyptian/Arabic society.

The story gets better with each page. The storyline is excellent and it is very well constructed. It questions male dominance in Arabic society while taking you on a saddening ride with Firdaus, the prostitue.

An amazing story of the lives of muslim women in egypt.

Journal Entry 31 by Simson-Shilitoe at Kuhardt, Rheinland-Pfalz Germany on Saturday, April 06, 2013

Released 5 yrs ago (4/7/2013 UTC) at Kuhardt, Rheinland-Pfalz Germany

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

Now on a speedy trip to the next participant in Spain.

Happy journey and I hope you`ll like the story!

Journal Entry 32 by Tubereader at Fuente El Saz de Jarama, Madrid Spain on Monday, May 13, 2013
The book has finally arrived! Something must have happened at the post office as I have been away for a few days and there were 5 books waiting for me, all of them posted to me quite a while ago... So it will be a bit of time till I get round to reading all of them... Will keep my profile updated as I make my way through them.

Journal Entry 33 by Tubereader at Bruxelles / Brussel, Bruxelles / Brussel Belgium on Thursday, May 30, 2013
Quick note to let everybody know that I am starting to read this book now.

Journal Entry 34 by Tubereader at Bruxelles / Brussel, Bruxelles / Brussel Belgium on Sunday, June 09, 2013
This is a great book, well deserves its inclusion in the 1001 books list.

It is a beautifully written story of a prostitute in Egypt. Nevertheless, I believe that many parts of her story could be applicable to prostitutes in other countries and in the present. Very powerful.

I have boekentrol's address and will post the book soon.

Journal Entry 35 by Tubereader at Sanchinarro, Madrid Spain on Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Released 5 yrs ago (7/1/2013 UTC) at Sanchinarro, Madrid Spain

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

The book was posted, with some delay, to the next in line.

Apologies for the delay.

Journal Entry 36 by wingBoekentrolwing at Leeuwarden, Fryslân (Friesland) Netherlands on Thursday, July 04, 2013
Together with August is a Wicked Month this book arrived safely with me today.

Thank you for sending it to me, Tubereader and for making it available, kingfan30! I'm looking forward to reading this book.

Journal Entry 37 by wingBoekentrolwing at Leeuwarden, Fryslân (Friesland) Netherlands on Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Usually I dislike feminist stories, for they often lack the nuance that does exist in life. After reading the first part of this book I feared to have one of those in my hand, but that was not entirely the case.

The story of Firdaus had a lot of power, thanks to the way it was told in. (No real comparison possible, but the telling reminded me of Sky Burial by Xinran.

A very sad one, the story of Firdaus' life, but also a story that tells of a great inner power. And that her spirit was never broken, that is what most impressed me in this book, what made me read it in nearly one sitting.

Thanks so much for sharing! I already have the next reader's address, the book will travel on as soon as I go to the postoffice.

Journal Entry 38 by wingBoekentrolwing at Leeuwarden, Fryslân (Friesland) Netherlands on Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Released 5 yrs ago (7/24/2013 UTC) at Leeuwarden, Fryslân (Friesland) Netherlands

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

This book is now on its way to the next reader: LaPitchoune. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
Safe travels, little book!

Journal Entry 39 by LaPitchoune at Helsinki, Uusimaa / Nyland Finland on Thursday, August 01, 2013
The book arrived this week! Thanks for the delivery. It's a rainy day so I'll try to get on with it soon.

Journal Entry 40 by LaPitchoune at Helsinki, Uusimaa / Nyland Finland on Friday, August 02, 2013
This was a quick read. The same old story. Different names, different faces. I feel so privileged to live in an egalitarian country. But why must that be a privilege? Why can't it be the norm..? However, I liked the empowering aspect, how Firdaus grew strong along the way.

Journal Entry 41 by LaPitchoune at Helsinki, Uusimaa / Nyland Finland on Friday, August 02, 2013
Packed and ready to hit Sweden next!

Hm ..OK, now I'm starting to wonder what happened to the book, since we haven't had a word from Sweden. Anyway, the book has been out of my hands for over a month now.

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