The Secret of Saffron

The Secret of Saffron Cover

Publishing House: Rashm

Publication Year: 2023

Genre: Novel

Number of Pages: 270

The novel “The Secret of Saffron” is the latest work by Saudi author Badriah Albeshr, released in 2023 by the publishing house “Rashm.”

The introduction to the novel is written by Dr. Salwa Al-Abbasi, who states,

“In this novel, Badriah Albeshr combines the realistic magical inclination with mythical psychology, delving into the past and valuing the cultural heritage of Saudi Arabia. Blending reality and fantasy, she anchors her imaginary world in soft sands, constantly seeking to discover the potential and possibilities, aiming to dissect the veiled identity of reality and the beings within it.”

The narrative takes you back in time to explore the history of slaves in the Arabian Peninsula and racial conflicts of that era, immersing you in a Bedouin period influenced by the events depicted by Badriah Albeshr.

The story revolves around “Saffron,” a slave woman interested in traditional medicine through collecting medicinal herbs. Her relationship with “Nufal,” almost maternal, leads to her being called “Mother Saffron” by her, much to her father’s displeasure. She imparts her healing secrets to Nufal, and a strong bond forms between Saffron and Nufal until fate separates them when Saffron is abducted by the men of “Ibn Ajaj,” a slave trader, becoming his servant.

The protagonist is born during the Bedouin era and the pre-modern period, progressing from the desert to the village and then the city. In each environment, she tries to establish roots. The narrative witnesses significant developments in the region, showcasing how women in those periods struggled to prove themselves and assert their worth in life.

The novel’s title, “The Secret of Saffron,” carries profound symbolism reflecting the events within. The name “Saffron” was a customary Arab name for a owned woman.

The story navigates through crucial historical events, including the royal decree for the liberation of all slaves and the abolition of slavery, the outbreak of smallpox, the spread of locusts in fields and homes, and the opening of girls’ schools.

The novel observes numerous significant social transformations in the Arabian Peninsula during the narrative period, particularly through the character of “Saffron,” whose life takes her into slavery and how the life of “Nufal” changes after their separation, culminating in their reunion after many years.

Read More About Badriah Albeshr

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