A Muslim child poised on the threshold of adulthood comes to understand that her world is less constrained than she supposes. Bolstered by centuries of custom, the streets of the Libyan city of Ghadames are considered men’s territory, while, with limited exceptions, the women are confined to the connected rooftops. Though Malika has the freedom of those rooftops, she yearns for more: to travel with her merchant father, to learn to read, to see what lies beyond the heavy veils and limited roles that women are expected to assume. But she gets startling insight into just how powerful and complex that woman’s world is when, with her father away on business, his two wives defy law and morality by sheltering a wounded fugitive in the house. Setting her tale at the end of the 19th century, Stolz not only weaves the sights, sounds, and daily rhythms of life in Ghadames into a vivid tapestry, she creates a cast of distinct characters, each of which displays a unique blend of strengths and weaknesses, as well as sometimes unexpected intelligence and compassion.
Islam, Muslim, Girls, Women, Coming-of-age, Libya, Freedom, Courage, Tradition, Expectations