Scheherazade Goes West: Different Cultures, Different Harems by Fatema Mernissi

Throughout my childhood, my grandmother Yasmina, who wa silliterate and grew up in a harem, repeated that to travel is the best way to learn and empower yourself. “When a woman decides to use her wings, she takes big risks,” she would tell me, but she was convinced that if you didn’t use them, it hurt…

So recalls Fatema Mernissi at the outset of her mesmerizing new book. Of all the lessons she learned from her grandmother —whose home was, after all, a type of prison—the most central was that the opportunity to cross boundaries was a sacred priviledge.

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