The Forbidden Woman


The Forbidden Woman

Malika Mokeddem
Translated by K. Melissa Marcus

European Women Writers Series

156 pages


February 1998


$19.95 Add to Cart

February 1998


$50.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

The Forbidden Woman tells the story of Sultana, an Algerian woman doctor who, after years spent living in France, returns to her native village in order to attend the funeral of a former lover. The clash between her origins and the Westernized life she now leads is explored in telling detail against the backdrop of current events in Algeria. A work that combines insight into both political and personal matters, The Forbidden Woman develops a complex portrait of a country torn between progress and prejudice, secular life and Islamic fundamentalism.

In this passionate book, Malika Mokeddem places special emphasis on the position of women in modern Algeria. The frequent indignities and injustices suffered by the narrator reflect the plight of women in a society marked by patriarchalism and religious fundamentalism. Yet the novel also suggests that, along with modernization, there are emerging demands for women’s rights in Algeria—demands that might well signal a vastly different future for this tormented nation.

Author Bio

Malika Mokeddem was born into an illiterate nomad family in Kenadsa, Algeria. She had the opportunity, rare for a Moslem female, to attend the university in Oran. Later she completed her medical studies in Montpellier, France, where she currently practices medicine. The Forbidden Woman is her third novel. Melissa Marcus is an associate professor of French at Northern Arizona University. She is the author of The Representation of Mesmerism in Honoré de Balzac’s “La Comédie Humaine” and the translator of Nina Bouraoui’s Forbidden Vision.

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