Dennis Haritou: I noticed that this debut novel by Rajaa Alsanea about the lives of Saudi women, who struggle to balance their lives between two worlds, has been picked up with alacrity by both university bookstore and other serious literary bookstore markets. I put “debut novel” in italics because we are always interested in discovering new voices and new visions and it sounds like this narrative qualifies. It also brought to mind a memoir I read about the love of literacy among women in Iran, Readng Lolita in Tehran, which helped me to love literature even more by appreciating the effort it can take sometimes to stay civilized.
I haven’t read Girls of Riyadh. I don’t know if it’s for me. But based on who is buying it, I like the company it is keeping.