This book comes across as well written even in translation. The prose is easy to read and the level of detail is very high so you can picture what everything looks like perfectly.
The book (at least as far as I've gotten) has no plot, it's all about the characterisation and unfortunately the characterisation is the most regrettable thing I've read in a LONG time.
Imagine if you will a book written less than a century after slavery ended, written by a white man, where one of the central characters was a black man who was fufilled and happy with his enslavement. Who looked on it as a good part of his life. There would be outrage. And yet it is perfectly acceptable for a man to have a woman character totally happy with her bondage. I just couldn't accept this. I've read a lot of books set in misogynistic cultures and time periods and enjoyed a lot of them as the women struggle against or take advantage of the repressive systems. But here there was no questioning, rather the mother was portrayed as the perfect submissive muslim wife, as the husband was portrayed as the perfect tyrannical husband.
Beyond the unquestioning sexism within the pages was the problem of the perfection of all the main characters. The husband was stern at home, beloved of his friends, clever, funny, etc. They didn't come across as real people at all, just stereotypes. It also struck me as odd that the "beautiful" daughter was the described as the beautiful one even though she was going against the cultural ideas of beauty at the time but rather matched late 20th century western ideals of beauty, she was blonde, pale and thin. Which made me wonder who was this book being written for?
I'm afraid it was too much, the only reason I got as far as I did was because I was reading it for a book club and even then every page was an effort. It has been a very long time since I hated a book this much....Continua