Sex and the Citadel, By Shereen El Feki: Book review
Arifa Akbar is literary editor of The Independent and i newspapers. She has worked at The Independent since 2001 as a news reporter and arts correspondent before joining the books desk in 2009. She was a judge for the Orwell Prize for books 2013, and the Fiction Uncovered Prize 2014, and is currently judging the Aesthetica Magazine new writing prize.
Friday 03 January 2014
El Feki, a half-Egyptian broadcaster and academic, conducted a five-year investigation into what goes on in the intimate lives of ordinary 21st-century Arabs. Her rationale behind this experiment was that sexual norms reflect the politics of a society.
There are entertaining moments – lascivious taxi-drivers and debates on the ills of imported artificial hymens in the Egyptian Parliament – but this does not detract from the seriousness of El Feki's purpose.
She talks to sexually frustrated wives, to homosexuals, unmarried Arab women and to husbands.
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