Saturday, October 2, 2010

Nine Parts of Desire by Geraldine Brooks

After reading a couple of fiction books, we returned to the non-fiction genre and traveling to the Middle East to read the book "Nine Parts of Desire" by Geraldine Brooks. 

Nine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic Women is the story of Brooks’ intrepid journey toward an understanding of the women behind the veils, and of the often contradictory political, religious, and cultural forces that shape their lives. 

Geraldine Brooks spent two years as a Middle East news correspondent, covering the death of Khomeini and the like. She also learned a lot about what it's like for Islamic women today. Brooks' book is exceedingly well-done--she knows her Islamic lore and traces the origins of today's practices back to Mohammed's time. Personable and very readable, Brooks takes us through the women's back door entrance of the Middle East for an unusual and provocative view. 

Through her book, we discussed how still relevant her book was, featuring Islamic women and showing us a more personalized story about women from different countries. That really gave the book a broader perspective and gave us reference to compare women practicing Islam in different countries.

Brooks also described detailed excerpts from the Koran that gives us more to the story of Mohammed, the prophet and the important role women played in his life. It was interesting to see how a Jewish Middle East Correspondent from Australia lived in this period and was able to collect intimate stories of women on the ground.

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