Nine Parts of Desire

Nine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic Women - Geraldine Brooks

Published almost 20 years ago, this book describes the allowable role and restrictions on women at the beginning of the explosion of Muslim fundamentalism and extremism. Nine Parts of Desire explains the basic differences between how the Middle Eastern nations interpret the parts of the Koran concerning the behavior of women and how tribal and ethnic customs influence the "lot" of women. While a personable account of Geraldine Brooks' time as a journalist in the Middle East and some of the women she encountered, at times her analysis seems simplistic, almost stereotypical. Reading this book 12 years after 9/11/01 with the increased unrest in the Middle East, I wondered how much of this book is still accurate. From my other reading, I believe that the small freedoms that some Islamic women, especially more affluent women, had gained in the early part of the 20th century are just a fond memory in most parts of the Middle East.