Must-read Classics by Women: Latifa al-Zayyat’s ‘The Open Door’

Arabic Literature (in English)

This year, Hoopoe Fiction re-released Latifa al-Zayyat’s classic feminist novel The Open Door, in Marilyn Booth’s compelling translation. For Women in Translation Month, ArabLit revisits the 1960 novel:

The feminist novel remains not just relevant but prescient, giving us a glimpse of a possible shared feminist future. As Ismail Fayed wrote over at Mada Masr earlier this year, “Long hailed as one of the first feminist Arab novels, Latifa al-Zayat’s Al-Bab al-Maftouh (The Open Door, 1960) remains a surprising read more than five decades after it was published.”

Fayed continues: “Due to its psychological insight, imaginative suppleness and keen awareness of its characters’ fallibility, but also because it binds the struggle of ambitious women to the fight for national independence, and equates British occupation with oppressive patriarchal norms, a potentially run-of-the-mill coming-of-age story about a frustrated young woman becomes a literary triumph.”

A review by ArabLit’s MLQ that ran…

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