Posts Tagged violence against women

‘A page turner from beginning to end’ novel ‘Skeena’‏

Valerie B. -Taylor

Author Fauzia Rafique’s highly acclaimed novel ‘Skeena’ is a compelling story of a young Muslim Canadian woman’s transitional evolution which spans 30 years from the land of her birthplace to the land of her rebirth.

Skeena’s journey is set in a framework of a life of oppression caused by cultural, religious, racist, patriarchal, familial, political, and societal conditions. Although told in a narrative based on Skeena’s Muslim identity and birthright the story transcends all cultural boundaries of violence against women. The story is layered in memorable characters and details so rich you will want to savor every word. The novel documents yet another personal account of a powerful voice that breaks the code of silence in the world of violence against woman and oppression of all peoples.

A page turner from beginning to end. A potential best seller.

Essential reading for high school and university students.

Aurhor/Presenter Valerie B. -Taylor is the President of New West Writers group. More information here:

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‘Skeena is a novel everyone should read’

‘Skeena is a novel everyone should read: not only for its remarkably insightful commentary on racism, violence against women, classism, the experience of immigrating to a new country and the human heart, but also because it is just an incredibly absorbing experience, I read it in a weekend and couldn’t put it down.

‘Once hooked, Skeena’s voice will stay inside your head and heart for a very long time!’

Bryonie Baxter
Executive Director
Elizabeth Fry Society, Ottawa

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Skeena by Fauzia Rafique

Book Review by Farah Shroff

This is a beautiful book that gives the reader a glimpse into the thoughts of Skeena, a Muslim girl who grows up in a village in Punjab. We see her daily life and the interaction between her and her elders, family and friends. We learn about the social hierarchies and power imbalances between men and women. We stay with Skeena for 30 years as she grows and moves to BC.

Rafique covers a vast landscape of ideas in this book: violence against women, religion and male domination, migration, war, racism, piety and more. Each of these huge topics is dealt with honestly and delicately. The notion that “a good woman is an obedient woman” is taken up throughout the book. Flowing from this is the notion that a good wife bears children, particularly boys: childless brides experience diminished social status.

Skeena does not live completely according to convention and is shunned to some extent for it; the reader accompanies her on the often difficult and emotionally traumatizing journeys of her transnational life.
Rafique skilfully weaves one woman’s tapestry in this modern, inter-connected world. Not shying away from the complexities and contradictions that most of us manifest, the novel is bold and refreshing.

In this post 911 world we need more work like this to help us all understand from the inside of people’s mental frameworks—how are we all similar as human beings and how do we differ? With CNN, CanWest Global and the most of the rabid anti-Islamic media telling us lies about how Muslims live, this kind of book speaks to us urgently about understanding, solidarity and building a better world.

Congratulations Fauzia!

Farah Shroff presented this review at the Vancouver launch of Skeena on April 10, 2011.

View Farah’s profile

Buy Skeena online

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