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Deconstructing nation and religion: young Saudi women novelists

Al-Rasheed, Madawi (2015) Deconstructing nation and religion: young Saudi women novelists. In: Ozdalga, Errol and Kuzmanović, Daniella, (eds.) Novels and Nations in the Muslim World. Palgrave Macmillan, Palgrave Macmillan UK, pp. 133-151. ISBN 9781137477583

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The cosmopolitan woman that both state and sections of Saudi society strove to locate and highlight after 9/11 has found expression in the fiction of the young generation of Saudi women novelists.1 These young women are urban, educated, sophisticated, and conversant in many languages. They belong to the emerging middle class that has benefited from oil wealth, education, and, since the late 1990s, the free market economy that opened up business and investment opportunities and also the media in its old and new forms. The new novelists are extremely young — for example, Raja al-Sani was 24 when she published her first novel Banat al-Riyadh (Girls of Riyadh), in 20052 Others are in their early 30s. Their heroines are immersed in a cosmopolitan fantasy, portrayed as cappuccino drinkers, shisha smokers, and globe-trotters. They move between home, college, private business, and shopping center like aspirant, privileged youth anywhere today. These new novelists know only the local modern high-rise shopping center, the cafe culture, and their equivalents in famous world capitals. Above all, they are “connected” through family networks, the virtual world of the internet, and regular travel. Their language is a mixture of Arabic and English, peppered with the idioms and abbreviations of e-mail, Yahoo groups, Facebook, and Twitter.

Item Type: Book Section
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2015 Palgrave Macmillan UK
Divisions: Middle East Centre
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
Date Deposited: 19 Jul 2017 15:00
Last Modified: 03 Nov 2021 00:04

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