This next review will be part of a series called “Women Writing Themselves Around the World”. This series will look at books that fall under the postcolonial category in which the representation of women and their voices are treated.
The first book, From a Crooked Rib, was written in and is set in Somali. It follows Ebla, a young woman who runs away from her village to escape a marriage she doesn’t want. All throughout her journey, she is faced with many new concepts and technologies that challenge her otherwise traditional upbringing. However, the progressive aspect of towns doesn’t offer women the possibility to perform their womanhood differently. On the contrary, Ebla is still considered an object that can be sold or exchanged or promised without her consent.
The reader, through Ebla’s thoughts, experiences the sadness and hopelessness of oppressed women in traditional and conservative culture. We can see how her thinking evolves and how she questions the foundation of her identity as a Somalian woman, especially the religious aspect. The text doesn’t shy away from the harsh truth of women’s reality. The women’s discontent with their situation is evoked not only through Ebla’s voice but also by the way other women guide her in her journey towards a certain freedom.
However, the book isn’t perfect. Personally, the writing style is too blunt for me. If I had to describe the style in one word I would say square. It felt like a car with wheels that are not round, but square. The actions are there, but it feels like there’s nothing going on at the same time. But the writing is merely an inconvenience because the story is powerful and thus interesting.
Grab this book at La Maison Anglaise
Pictures by L