Nine Parts of Desire (Brooks)

Nine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic Women
Geraldine Brooks, 1994
Knopf Doubleday
255 pp.
ISBN-13 9780385475778



Summary
Nine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic Women is the story of Brook's intrepid journey toward an understanding of the women behind the veils, and of the often contradictory political, religious, and cultural forces that shape their lives.

In fundamentalist Iran, Brooks finagles an invitation to tea with the ayatollah's widow—and discovers that Mrs. Khomeini dyes her hair. In Saudi Arabia, she eludes the severe segregation of the sexes and attends a bacchanal, laying bare the hypocrisy of this austere, male-dominated society. In war-torn Ethiopia, she watches as a female gynecologist repairs women who have undergone genital mutilation justified by a distorted interpretation of Islam.

In villages and capitals throughout the Middle East, she finds that a feminism of sorts has flowered under the forbidding shroud of the chador as she makes other startling discoveries that defy our stereotypes about the Muslim world.

Nine Parts of Desire is much more than a captivating work of firsthand reportage; it is also an acute analysis of the world's fastest-growing religion, deftly illustrating how Islam's holiest texts have been misused to justify the repression of women. It was, after all, the Shiite leader Ali who proclaimed that "God created sexual desire in ten parts, then gave nine parts to women. (From the publisher.)



Author Bio
Birth—September 14, 1955
Raised—Ashfield, New South Wales, Australia
Education—B.A., Sydney University; M.A. Columbia University (USA)
Awards—Pulitzer Prize
Currently—lives in Virginia, USA


Geraldine Brooks s an Australian American journalist and author whose 2005 novel, March, won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. While retaining her Australian passport, she became an United States citizen in 2002.

Early life
A native of Sydney, Geraldine Brooks grew up in its inner-west suburb of Ashfield, where she attended Bethlehem College, a secondary school for girls, and the University of Sydney.

Following graduation, she became a rookie reporter for the Sydney Morning Herald and, after winning a Greg Shackleton Memorial Scholarship, moved to New York City in the United States, completing a Master's at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 1983. The following year, she married American journalist Tony Horwitz in the Southern France village of Tourrettes-sur-Loup and converted to his religion, Judaism.

Career
As a foreign correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, she covered crises in Africa, the Balkans, and the Middle East, with the stories from the Persian Gulf which she and her husband reported in 1990, receiving the Overseas Press Club's Hal Boyle Award for "Best Newspaper or Wire Service Reporting from Abroad." In 2006, she was awarded a fellowship at Harvard University's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.

Brooks's first book, Nine Parts of Desire (1994), based on her experiences among Muslim women in the Middle East, was an international bestseller, translated into 17 languages. Foreign Correspondence: A Pen Pal's Journey from Down Under to All Over (1997), which won the Nita Kibble Literary Award for women's writing, was a memoir and travel adventure about a childhood enriched by penpals from around the world, and her adult quest to find them.

Her first novel, Year of Wonders, published in 2001, became an international bestseller. Set in 1666, the story depicts a young woman's battle to save fellow villagers as well as her own soul when the bubonic plague suddenly strikes her small Derbyshire village of Eyam.

Her next novel, March (2005), was inspired by her fondness for Louisa May Alcott's Little Women, which her mother had given her. To connect that memorable reading experience to her new status in 2002 as an American citizen, she researched the Civil War historical setting of Little Women and decided to create a chronicle of wartime service for the "absent father" of the March girls.

Some aspects of this chronicle were informed by the life and philosophical writings of the Alcott family patriarch, Amos Bronson Alcott, whom she profiled under the title "Orpheus at the Plow", in the 10 January 2005 issue of The New Yorker, a month before March was published. The parallel novel was generally well received by the critics. It was selected in December 2005 selection by the Washington Post as one of the five best fiction works published that year. In April 2006, it won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

In her next novel, People of the Book (2008), Brooks explored a fictionalized history of the Sarajevo Haggadah. This novel was inspired by her reporting (for The New Yorker) of human interest stories emerging in the aftermath of the 1991–95 breakup of Yugoslavia. The novel won both the Australian Book of the Year Award and the Australian Literary Fiction Award in 2008.

Her 2011 novel Caleb's Crossing is inspired by the life of Caleb Cheeshahteaumauk, a Wampanoag convert to Christianity who was the first Native American to graduate from Harvard College, an achievement of the seventeenth century.

Her next work, The Secret Chord (2015) is a historical novel based on the life of the biblical King David in the period of the Second Iron Age.

Awards
2006 - Pulitzer Prize for March
2008 - Australian Publishers Association's Fiction Book of the Year for People of the Book
2009 - Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award
2010 - Dayton Literary Peace Prize Lifetime Achievement Award
(From Wikipedia. Retrieved 10/14/2015.)



Book Reviews 
(Pre-internet works have few mainstream press reviews online. See Amazon and Barnes & Noble for helpful customer reviews.)

Geraldine Brooks has drawn on her wide experience and first hand knowledge of Islam and the Middle East to contribute a number of commentaries on current events in the region.
Salon


Having spent six years covering the Middle East for the Wall Street Journal, Brooks presents an exploration of the daily life of Muslim women and the often contradictory forces that shape their lives.
Publishers Weekly.
Publishers Weekly



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