The Others (Paperback)
Seven Stories Press, 9781583228715, 320pp.
Publication Date: September 1, 2009
" This] debut novel offers a rare window into young, lesbian Saudi culture...The protagonist's journey of self-discovery and the questions she reflects upon have universal appeal. A] poetic, valuable look at the difficulties of being a woman in Saudi Arabia, and of growing up anywhere in the world."--"Kirkus Reviews"
"This could be the most controversial novel to emerge in our times, not just from Saudi Arabia, but from the whole of the Arab world." --"Al Hayat"
"So much sex...But don't expect a winking Melissa P. of the desert. Here we're talking about stifling gynaecea and cracks of madness reminiscent of "The Bell Jar" by Sylvia Plath; cynical, upper class girls like in Mary McCarthy's "The Group"; and rich, alienating tendencies like in the first Bret Easton Ellis."--Marco Cicala, "Il Venerdi di Repubblica"
A best-selling book when it appeared in Arabic, "The Others" is a literary tour de force, offering a window into one of the most repressive societies in the world.
Seba al-Herz tells the story of a nameless teenager at a girls' school in the heavily Shi'ite Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. Like her classmates, she has no contact with men outside her family. When the glamorous Dai tries to seduce her, her feelings of guilt are overcome by an overwhelming desire for sexual and emotional intimacy. Dai introduces her to a secret world of lesbian parties, online flirtations, and hotel liaisons--a world in which the thrill of infatuation and the shame of obsession are deeply intertwined. Al-Herz's erotic, dereamlike story of looming personal crisis is a remarkable portrait of hidden lives.
Seba al-Herz is the pseudonym of a twenty-six-year-old Saudi woman from al-Qatif in Saudi Arabia. This is her first novel.