A Certain Woman

Hala El Badry / translated by Farouk Abdel Wahab

‘A Certain Woman contributes to the growing body of imaginative literature written by Arab women and translated into English. The translation of this novel is alliterative, poetic and strikingly vivid.’
Al Jadid

In this prize-winning novel, Nahid is a woman determined to go on a journey of self discovery and understanding. As we accompany her in her sometimes delirious, sometimes lucid journey, we are given rare glimpses of the inner thoughts and feelings of a woman confronting questions of love and intimacy within and outside of marriage. It is a story of a woman’s quest for liberation, not from a repressive society or a male-dominated world, but from self-imposed taboos that inhabit a woman’s ability to find fulfilment and to confront the many imponderables surrounding sexuality, desire, and love.

Struck ― by conscious choice to keep up the genteel appearances of her middle-class family ― in a loveless marriage to Mustafa, the forty-something Nahid finds love and sex with novelist Omar ― himself trapped in a loveless, but not sexless, marriage to Maggie. Although their love story is at the very heart of the novel, we are given broad glimpses of the larger picture of the world outside through Nahid’s work as an archeologist and Omar’s as a journalist.

HALA EL BADRY was born in Cairo and graduated from Cairo University. She is now deputy editor of Egypts radio and television magazine. A Certain Woman, her fourth novel, was awarded the prize for best novel of 2001 at the Cairo International Book Fair.

FAROUK ABDEL WAHAB was the Ibn Rushd Professional Lecturer in Arabic at the University of Chicago. He translated numerous works of fiction including Love in Exile by Bahaa Taher and Birds of Amber by Ibrahim Abdel Meguid, both published by the AUC Press.

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