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Review of Daughters of the Nile by Zahra Barri


This strong debut explores the lives of a family of women spanning three generations. We have Fatiha Bin-Khalid who, after dedicating years to the fight for women’s rights in Paris in the 1940s, struggles to reconcile her politics with the realities of motherhood. Then in the 1960s we meet Fatiha’s daughter, Yasminah, as she tries to decide if she should leave her home in Cairo in pursuit of independence after being shamed for having a relationship with a bisexual man. Lastly there is Nadia, Yasminah’s niece, who in 2011 is a serial dater working as a TV runner in Bristol. 


I liked the multi-generational angle to this story, in particular how the women’s strength and willingness to fight for their independence was an echo throughout all of their lives. I also liked the international settings of Paris, Cairo and Bristol, a reminder that every city carries its own culture and identity. 


I sometimes found the language a little unclear with inferences I didn’t tangibly pick up on. For example, it took me a long time to realise Yasminah’s beau was bisexual. That being said, I think this debut has a powerful message and is another strong reminder of the many ways women exist in society outside of our gendered heteronormative expectations. 


Review by Helen.

Daughters of the Nile was published on 06/06/24 by Unbound.



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