Title: Revenge: A Fable
Author: Taslima Nasrin
Translator: Honor Moore
Publication Year: 2010
Source: Review copy from the publisher
From the cover:
In modern Bangladesh, Jhumur marries for love and imagines life with her husband, Haroon, will continue much as it did when they were dating on her university campus. But once she crosses the threshold of Haroon’s family home, Jhumur finds she is expected to be the traditional Muslim wife: head covered, eyes averted, and unable to leave the house without an escort. When she becomes pregnant, Jhumur is shocked to discover that Haroon doesn’t believe the baby is his. Overwhelmed by his mistrust, Jhumur plots her revenge in the arms of a handsome neighbor. Readers from every walk of life will be stunned by this tale of love, lust, and blood ties.
Okay, first of all? The description on this book is a bit misleading. You see where it says above that Jhumur is expected to be the “traditional Muslim wife”, and then continues with a description of what that entails? In the book, it’s described much more as Jhumur being expected to be a traditional Bangladeshi wife, and particularly one from the social circle in which her husband’s family belongs. Religion isn’t mentioned until over halfway through the book, when Jhumur is told to begin praying five times a day. So this book definitely wasn’t about Islam or the expectations of Muslim women so much as it was about the culture in which the characters live.
Once you get past that, Revenge was fantastic. It was partly an emotional roller coaster ride, as the reader follows along with Jhumur’s point of view and knows only what is happening that she can explain. There’s so much that happened that just made my jaw drop in complete amazement at the things that her husband says and does. Nasrin does an extremely good job of presenting the utter ridiculousness of the situation that Haroon puts Jhumur into, and it’s rather interesting to see how Jhumur responds.
I can’t really tell you too much about the book without ruining it for you. But, suffice it to say, I really enjoyed it! So much so that I lent it out to Amy to read right afterwards, without even asking her first. I just handed it to her. And that’s pretty much what I would do to most of you – especially if you like feminist literature, fables, or world literature. Definitely get around to reading Revenge. You won’t regret it.
You can find other posts in the series by clicking on the image to the right, or by taking a look at the schedule of posts and reviews.