May 10, 2012

Alifa Rifaat's Short Stories of Women



I have just finished reading Distant View of a Minaret by Alifa Rifaat. It is a collection of 15 short stories about women. There are stories of love, death, fantasy, and frustrations of everyday life.  As I read, I felt as though I were one of the women who struggled to survive life.  Men's rules and selfish desires made it hard for women to live a fulfilling life, this is the focus of the author's stories. I felt that many of the women resigned themselves to how things were and patiently waited for death, hoping that their next life would somehow be better than the one where they reside currently. 



The story called, The Kite, was the most inspiring.  It begins with Widad, a widow, who has just risen from sleep to the voice of the Muezzin calling for morning prayers.  After her husband passed away, the chickens were her only companions in life, whom she knew each one and it's characteristics. She would have endless conversations with them.  When she was young, Widad loved a young man named Mitwalli.  He felt love for her as well, but Widad's father married her off to another man.  Years later they meet again.  Mitwalli still wanted her.  Widad was waiting for death.  During a dream Widad saw here life with Mitwalli and it was a good thing. She decided, Why not? Sometimes we are given second chances. This is not a new book but one from the 80's.  Stories are a good way of causing you and me to think about life.  It is a good thing.