Thursday, April 08, 2010

The Almond by Nedjma

Written anonymously through the use of a pseudonym, The Almond is the fictional tale of the sexual awakening of a Muslim woman from a small Moroccan village. She is married off to a cruel husband, who brutalizes her on her wedding night. Badra swears from that night on her husband will make love to a corpse. It is not until she flees her horrible marriage for the house of her aunt in Tangiers that life for Badra changes. She is introduced to Driss, a rich cardiologist. Badra becomes his mistress and Driss shows her the pleasures of sex. Badra's life becomes a fairy tale as the rich Driss keeps her in good style, despite living in a strict Muslim society. But Driss's libertine lifestyle soon stokes jealousy and Badra's love for him turns to hatred. But the hate eventually cools; Driss and Badra are reconciled after many years of separation.

I really enjoyed reading The Almond. The prose and story are erotic and, at times, terrible. Some, however, might find the frank sexual language offensive. While there is some question about the veracity of the story, I found it an enjoyable read that, even if not entirely accurate, makes me sympathetic to the plight of women in bad marriages, arranged or not.


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