Middle East Studies
English edition  
June  1984
172 pp.
39 illus. 
14X23 cm
ISBN 9789774240287
For sale only in the Middle East



Five Egyptian Women Tell Their Stories Nayra Atiya
Foreword by Andrea B. Rugh
Photography by Asma el-Bakry

Five contemporary Egyptian women, ranging in age from early twenties to mid-sixties, members of Cairo's impoverished middle to lower classes, told their life stories to Nayra Atiya over a period of many months. Their stories are fresh and vivid, recording the various roles of being co-wife in a polygamous marriage, the complications of divorce, the rituals of female circumcision and marriage, the loss of children, life-long hate and its source, the position of witchcraft and superstition in their daily lives, primitive health practices, and managing a family's meager resources, including gold or silver khul-khaal anklets worn by married women. These self-portraits are fascinating reading and a mine of information for anyone interested in understanding contemporary Egyptian life. A foreword by anthropologist Andrea Rugh and many photographs by Asma el-Bakry are included.
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Nayra Atiya received an MA in French from Harvard University, has taught college-level language and literature, and has worked as a journalist and illustrator for the Egyptian Gazette, Cairo. She is a UNICEF prize-winning author and oral historian, and has translated a number of works by Out el Kouloub.

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Photograph by Amina Megalli

Click here to read an interview with Nayra Atiya.

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“These rich, personal histories, with the addition of a perceptive and detailed foreword by anthropologist Andrea Rugh, make Khul- Khaal an important contribution to the growing number of publications which seek to promote an understanding of Arab women’s roles.”—Africa Today<br><br>

“These life histories present some of the most extensive, direct, and intimate non-fictional portraits of Middle Eastern women available in English.”—Middle East Journal <br><br>

“Their moving and often poignant stories shatter many of the popular assumptions that Western and Third World feminists alike have about the lives of working-class women.”—Washington Report on Middle East Affairs<br><br>

“These are powerfully honest accounts of women’s struggles from early childhood through adulthood told by those who have certainly thought about the course of their lives and the daily problems they are forced to confront. These sketches tell us that women are at the center of the family and that the family is central to social relations in society; therefore, women are important and count.”—Journal of Developing Areas

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