KATHMANDU, June 20: Our reader this week is Sashi Shrestha who is 20 and is a graduate of IB (International Baccalaureate).
His all-time favorite is Nawal El Saadawi´s “Woman at Point Zero.” Originally written in Arabic, this book revolves around the life of a female prostitute in mid-twentieth century Egypt. This book really defies the perspectives that most people possess about prostitution.
It is frankly a very disturbing and brutal story of one girl, Firdaus, and her life through prostitution. However, it opens eyes to the cruelty that the world still has.
The book would come as a shocking revelation to Nepalis who are conservative in their thoughts since the author’s writing was disturbing enough to get her exiled from Egypt.
What did you like the most about this book?
The beautiful use of language and descriptive elements throughout the book is a stunning attention grabber. Her utilization of repetition makes this story predictable yet each repetition has a difference and a unique touch to it. Alongside, the fact that it is focused on such pressing issues of prostitution, subjugation of women, and the fight for freedom further quantifies the reading experience.
Who is your favorite character and why?
Firdaus is certainly my favorite character. Besides being the protagonist, her thinking, her strength to overcome the manipulation of men and her will to gain freedom is extremely awe-inspiring. She is a beautiful girl who has been slowly forced into prostitution but later, with maturity and experience, she makes this profession a voluntary choice. Her will to survive and live even during the worst of times is a powerful inspirer.
What kind of impact did the book have on you?
This is the book that turned me into a feminist overnight. To me, it was a life-changing reading, a book that defied my beliefs, which made me rethink the world through the eyes of a prostitute in Egypt, and also my perspective of the world. I don’t just see life through my eyes anymore, but rather include the perspectives of others as well. It also made me realize that fighting for one’s principles and rights is a dignified act, regardless of them being wrong.
Whom would you suggest this book to?
I would suggest this book to everyone, from mature women to budding teenagers. For people who are conservative, it’ll be a blow to the face. However, if you learn to open up your mind, it may just change you. This is a must-read novel if you wish to understand the ever elusive female mind. For teenagers, this book would be an interesting way to understand their lives more and learn about overcoming problems.