Publishing House: Dar Al Adab

Publication Year: 2008

Genre: Novel

Number of Pages: 181

In Laila al-Juhani’s ‘Jahiliyya’, the narrative critiques societal norms that devalue women in a patriarchal society. The protagonist, Lina, faces her mother’s preference for a male heir, echoing a wider societal bias. This mindset, prevalent in ‘Jahiliyya’, sees women’s existence as less than men’s, denying them complete humanity.

The novel confronts the belief that men must be women’s support and backbone, undermining women’s autonomy and self-worth. Lina’s struggle, captured with emotional depth, questions why her existence fails to satisfy her mother, who yearns for a son.

‘Jahiliyya’ is notable for its eloquent language and sophisticated narrative style, showcasing al-Juhani’s growth as a writer. The book revisits themes of love and connection, while also exposing societal conflicts rooted in classism, tribalism, and deviation from Islamic principles. It addresses race and colorism, illustrated when Lina’s love for a black man triggers harsh familial and societal repercussions.

Al-Juhani’s narrative critiques societal norms while exploring the emotional and societal challenges women face amidst class and racial discrimination. ‘Jahiliyya’ skillfully intertwines these themes, revealing the stark realities of a society clinging to outdated, unjust values. The author employs literary devices, reflecting on the Gulf Wars and their societal impact, enhancing her story.

‘Jahiliyya’ is an illuminating exploration of love, societal expectations, and the quest for equality. Al-Juhani’s fusion of simplicity and depth in storytelling renders the novel both engaging and provocative, emphasizing the urgency for societal transformation.

Read More About Laila Al-Juhani

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