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A Woman Is No Man: A Novel Audiobook, by Etaf Rum Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Etaf Rum Narrator: Ariana Delawari, Dahlia Salem, Susan Nezami Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2019 ISBN: 9780062897510
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“Sometimes heroism is loud and dramatic. Other times, it is daring to listen to that quiet voice within and having the courage to follow it. In this story, we see inside the lives of three generations of Palestinian women living in America, struggling and suffering to hear that voice. Etaf Rum has done a great service by sharing these voices with us.”  —Shilpi Somaya Gowda, New York Times Bestselling Author of SECRET DAUGHTER and THE GOLDEN SON

Three generations of Palestinian-American women living in Brooklyn are torn between individual desire and the strict mores of Arab culture in this powerful debut—a heart-wrenching story of love, intrigue, courage, and betrayal that will resonate with women from all backgrounds, giving voice to the silenced and agency to the oppressed.

"Where I come from, we’ve learned to silence ourselves. We’ve been taught that silence will save us. Where I come from, we keep these stories to ourselves. To tell them to the outside world is unheard ofdangerous, the ultimate shame.”

Palestine, 1990. Seventeen-year-old Isra prefers reading books to entertaining the suitors her father has chosen for her. Over the course of a week, the naïve and dreamy girl finds herself quickly betrothed and married, and is soon living in Brooklyn. There Isra struggles to adapt to the expectations of her oppressive mother-in-law Fareeda and strange new husband Adam, a pressure that intensifies as she begins to have children—four daughters instead of the sons Fareeda tells Isra she must bear.

Brooklyn, 2008. Eighteen-year-old Deya, Isra’s oldest daughter, must meet with potential husbands at her grandmother Fareeda’s insistence, though her only desire is to go to college. Deya can’t help but wonder if her options would have been different had her parents survived the car crash that killed them when Deya was only eight. But her grandmother is firm on the matter: the only way to secure a worthy future for Deya is through marriage to the right man.

But fate has a will of its own, and soon Deya will find herself on an unexpected path that leads her to shocking truths about her family—knowledge that will force her to question everything she thought she knew about her parents, the past, and her own future.

Set in an America at once foreign to many and staggeringly close at hand, A Woman Is No Man is a story of culture and honor, secrets and betrayals, love and violence. It is an intimate glimpse into a controlling and closed cultural world, and a universal tale about family and the ways silence and shame can destroy those we have sworn to protect.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Etaf Rum has done a great service by sharing these voices with us.”

    Shilpi Somaya Gowda, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Through well-developed characters and a wonderfully paced narrative, [Rum] exposes the impact that the embedded patriarchy of some cultures can have on women while showing more broadly how years of shame, secrets, and betrayal can burden families across generations no matter what the cultural or religious affiliation. Highly recommended.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “The daughter of Brooklyn Palestinian immigrants, Rum was often told ‘a woman is no man.’ Overcoming her fear of community reprisal, she alchemizes that limiting warning into a celebration of ‘the strength and power of our women.’”

    Booklist

  • “In telling this compelling tale, Rum—who was born in Brooklyn to Palestinian immigrants herself—writes that she hopes readers will be moved ‘by the strength and power of our women.’ A richly detailed and emotionally charged debut.”

    Kirkus Reviews

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About the Author

Etaf Rum was born and raised in Brooklyn by Palestinian immigrants. She has a Masters of Arts in American and British Literature as well as undergraduate degrees in Philosophy and English Composition and teaches college English and Literature in North Carolina, where she lives with her two children. Etaf also runs the Instagram account @booksandbeans, which has over 160,000 followers, and is also a Book of the Month Club Ambassador. Her favorite author is Sylvia Plath.

About the Narrators

Ariana Delawari, an Earphones Award–winning narrator, is a musician, director, and actress. A graduate of the USC School of Cinematic Arts, she directed We Came Home, an award-winning documentary about her journeys to Afghanistan since 9/11, the making of her album “Lion of Panjshir,” and her family story. She recently became the first female of Afghan descent to perform rock music live in Afghanistan in over thirty years. She is also a member of the LA Ladies Choir and was recently a speaker and performer at the inaugural TEDx Kabul.

Susan Nezami is an audiobook narrator whose readings include The Idealist by Nina Munk, among others.