BOOK REVIEW: LIGHT OF THE DESERT by LUCETTE WALTERS
AUTHOR: Lucette Walters
FIRST PUBLISHED: 2007
**Hello Pal! I know! It’s been a minute since I last updated this blog 😦 . Life happened, and I’ve been trying to create time for this space but my schedule keeps screwing me up. I missed writing here, I’ve always enjoyed sharing my thoughts in this little space. I haven’t been posting reviews here, but I sure have been reading, though my TBR list still outweighs my ‘Read’ list (LOL). I have, however, been posting brief reviews of some books on my goodreads page. I at some point stopped reading books and other bulky pieces of literature, and hopped on reading long posts from sites like Longreads, Guardian Long Read and The New Yorker. For the longest time, real-life stories have always caught my fancy. I immensely enjoy drowning myself in long-reads as they give me the satisfaction of completing flash non-fiction books. I hope to post more in the remaining part of the year, and complete my 2018 Reading challenge on time.**
This is one of the most interesting books I’ve set my eyes on this month. The story is as enthralling as it gets from the start. Meet Sultana and her daughter Yasmina. Yasmina is always dedicated to her wifely duties, not knowing when to stop, even when her body feels exhausted. I particularly loved the two women in the book as they illustrate the beauty of life even in dull or sad situations. Though their right to fully express themselves is somehow limited, the two women bring out a strong element in their feminine roles.
Two incidents made me love and celebrate Sultana; her standing up for Yasmina when she went into labor but could not deliver, as they had to wait for consent from the men, for her to go through cesarean delivery. Two, when she saved Abdo, the orphan who was being abused by his uncle. She took him and raised the boy as her own child. Beautiful. In both cases, Sultana is seen as a bold and loving woman, who defies the odds and acts logically.
Zaffeera was a stubborn character. One gets the impression that she was more dominating than her sister Noora, and was also a little aggressive. She thought herself smarter than her sister and always wanted to be proven right. The theme of sibling rivalry is partly seen between Zaffeera and Noora. Though sometimes masked with love and false care, the reader could clearly see that there was some jealousy between the two siblings.
Through the book, one is able to view the traditional Egyptian society from a new angle. The different cultures and diversity between communities are seen throughout the chapters; as Yasmina and Farid’s children grow into adulthood, travel the world, get the western education and compare differences between communities.
“Light Of The Desert” is an interesting book, with twists and turns, suspense and adventure. The overture of the book was a creative idea by the author. I could tell that the book had a terrific storyline. Zaffeera was my villain here. I had loved her when she was young but I came to detest her uncivilized ways of dealing with issues she didn’t agree with. She felt entitled and was often self-centered. What of her jealousy? The anger she carried towards her sister was also ugly. Why couldn’t she let Noora and her fiance Michel grow their love without interfering?
Sibling rivalry, marriage, traditions vis-a-vis modernity, feminity, patriarchy, religion, romance, family ties and education are some of the themes Lucette walters covered in the “Light Of The Desert”. The book is an interesting read and I would definitely re-read it in future.