Pillars of Salt by Fadia Faqir
A Novel (Emerging Voices)

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Pillars of Salt is the story of two women confined in a mental hospital in Jordan during and after the British Mandate. Maha, a peasant woman from the Jordan Valley, and Um Saad from Amman find themselves sharing a room. After initial tensions they become friends and share their life stories.

Maha's version of history, which is told from the inside, is framed by the narrative of the storyteller who reports as an outsider. Maha's husband Harb was the love of her life but her devition to him does not survive the repression and violence of her husband bringing home a young new wife, Yusra.

The intricate structure of the novel with its different voices and interlacing narrative lines conforms to the ancient tradition of storytelling in Arabia. Both Muslim and Christian theological sources are used to create a mythical woman who is subjugated and confined by society. The apocalyptic vision of the novel refers to the continuing repression of Arab women whose daily contribution to the economy and struggle to survive in a male-dominated society have largely been neglected.


About Fadia Faqir

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Published October 1, 1996 by Interlink Books. 230 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Pillars of Salt

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The histories of Maha and Um Saad, which typify Jordanian experience during the British Mandate that lasted through much of the 1940s, are framed and echoed by the comments of ``The Storyteller,'' who relates them to us in a dazzling and often very moving display of narrative art.

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Publishers Weekly

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The Jordanian-born Faqir (Nisanit), who writes in English, brings both the declamatory style and the intricate syntax of traditional Arabic storytelling to a novel of anti-traditional feminist themes.

Oct 02 1996 | Read Full Review of Pillars of Salt: A Novel (Eme...

Publishers Weekly

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Um Saad is a heartbroken mother of eight whose husband has replaced her with ""the woman in green who licked the side of her mouth like a snake."" It's sad, but it doesn't have half the drama of Maha's story, which concerns her love for her husband, now dead, whose ""firm thighs told the story of...

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