Woman at Point Zero – Nawal El Saadwi

The cover is theirs and the flowers are mine… It is human nature to find beauty and relief where none seem to exist.

This book has more heft of sorrow than its size might indicate… Weighing like a ton of bricks in your hands or lap. As one labours through the true story of Firdaus, a young woman in a Cairo prison, on death row, the circumstances of her life keep pointing to the hopelessness of being a girl… The possibility of exploitation abound and they are taken advantage of by everyone who comes in contact with her.

Her academic potential is disregarded, her needs and pleasures are never taken into consideration… Even when she becomes financially independent and sought after by powerful people, she is but one step away from brutalisation.

The title might have ‘Point Zero’ in it but one is close to boiling point while reading it… It is infuriating and exasperating… This story is not localised to Arab Nations… This could be in any country where women are exploited for being just that… Women.

One comes away with the feeling that Firdaus is a true heroine, regardless of her circumstances. She is braver than most warriors one reads about and worthy of deep respect.

Nawal El Saadawi is courageous and brilliant. She has spoken fearlessly and tirelessly about the flaws in Arab society. Her books are taught in universities and are translated into more than forty languages.

The relevance of her books cannot be denied, nor their importance in today’s day.

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