Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Refreshing Look at Islam

Finding Nouf by Zoe Ferraris (whose first name has an umlaut, which I have no clue how to add here....)
5 Stars
R- 2

Given the current political climate, this book offers a refreshing and touching look at the rules and laws of Islam-- specifically the treatment of women. Nayir, the main character, is so open and honest in his respect for women, and in his discomfort when confronted by "immodesty".

Now, don't get me wrong, I have no desire to wear a burqa, but Nayir's feelings are so innocent that's it's really very sweet. In his search for Nouf, a missing 16 year-old, he imagines her wandering helpless in the desert, and in his imagining sees her ankles, immediately prompting him to ask forgiveness from Allah. He's so very naive that it's cute.

It's also somewhat frustrating. How will he ever figure out what happened to Nouf if he can only talk to the men and the men never really knew the girl at all?

Eventually, in working with Katja, a technician at the coroner's office, Nayir comes to a more balanced view of women, and is able to interact a little more normally. (Yes, Katja works for the coroner... which seems odd all the way around, but hey. Even in the Muslim world, coroners must have their place.)

I love a good investigation, and I must say I didn't have it all worked out ahead of time, which is a plus. It's nice to be surprised. The ending leaves a fair amount to the imagination, but it didn't annoy me the way that sort of things sometimes do.

Overall, I quite liked it. I wasn't totally in the mood for it at first, but I really enjoyed it.


  1. I was just thinking about Muslim modesty yesterday. Thinking about/was confronted with. Sometimes I think it would be so much easier to be a woman in a burqa, safe and covered, than feeling all exposed in my assortment of Shades, wondering if my nipples are to sticky outy, if my butt crack is peeking out, if my arm flab is too hangy ... cover me all up. I'd be braver.

  2. There is that. A burqa would mean far less decision-making when it comes to getting dressed.

    It would also cover that pesky baby fat that just won't go away....