June 3, 2024

“Romances of Al-A’sha Street”.. Women’s stories are a witness to society!

Romances of Al-A'sha Street

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“Does time listen?! This is the question posed by Saudi author Badriah Albeshr in her novel “Romances of Al-A’sha Street” Do the voices of women truly reach the ears of time? Do those close to them hear their voices, allowing time to feel their presence? Do women have an audible voice? The novel, published by Dar Al-Saqi in 2013, spans 288 pages and was longlisted for the 2014 International Prize for Arabic Fiction. Without truly hearing the voices of women, we felt only that their hearts hold secrets and their souls remain restless.”

Three Women in “Romances of Al-A’sha Street”

The novel “Romances of Al-A’sha Street” takes us back to the 1970s, through the stories of the residents of Al-A’sha Street in Riyadh. It primarily narrates three stories, the first of which centers on the protagonist, Aziza, who loves Egyptian films and the lives of Egyptian actresses. Through her story, we are introduced to the tales of the women on the street. Aziza searches for love in the manner of Soad Hosny in the film “Aziza, the Ambassador,” and she falls in love with the Egyptian doctor Ahmed. She contemplates running away with him but faces a greater danger than escape which is the loss of her soul.

The second story is about Wadhaa, a Bedouin woman who escapes poverty by working in the women’s market, eventually becoming its leading merchant. Her narrative takes us on a journey with her daughters, Al-Jazia and Mazna, and her sons, Mutaib and Dhari. The third story follows Atwa, or Atiya, who flees her village and erases her femininity to survive, only to discover that she remains a woman capable of rebirth. She reinvents herself in the new life of Riyadh, far from her small village.

The Worlds of Riyadh Women

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