According to Goodreads: "More convincingly than any other woman writing in Arabic today, Alifa Rifaat lifts the veil on what it means to be a women living within a traditional Muslim society." So states the translator's foreword to this collection of the Egyptian author's best short stories. Rifaat (1930-1996) did not go to university, spoke only Arabic, and seldom traveled abroad. This virtual immunity from Western influence lends a special authenticity to her direct yet sincere accounts of death, sexual fulfillment, the lives of women in purdah, and the frustrations of everyday life in a male-dominated Islamic environment. I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of this book!
The Vera Brittain book is about here experiences during WWI. Goodreads describes the memoir as:
"Much of what we know and feel about the First World War we owe to Vera Brittain's elegiac yet unsparing book, which set a standard for memoirists from Martha Gellhorn to Lillian Hellman. Abandoning her studies at Oxford in 1915 to enlist as a nurse in the armed services, Brittain served in London, in Malta, and on the Western Front. By war's end she had lost virtually everyone she loved. Testament of Youth is both a record of what she lived through and an elegy for a vanished generation. Hailed by the Times Literary Supplement as a book that helped “both form and define the mood of its time,” it speaks to any generation that has been irrevocably changed by war." Doesn't that sound like a must-read book? To me it does. And I am eager to learn about Vera and the war through her writing. There is even going to be a film version of her book released this year (it was already released in the UK). I can't wait to see the film as well!
Here's the trailer for Testament of Youth: