This groundbreaking book throws open a window on a world unknown to most Westerners. Taslima Nasrin revisits her early years - from her auspicious birth on a Muslim holy day to the threshold of womanhood at fourteen - in a small rural village during the years East Pakistan became Bangladesh. Set against the background of the fight for independence, Nasrin's earliest memories alternate between scenes of violence and flight and images of innocent pleasures of childhood in her extended family. A precocious child, Nasrin's acute awareness of the injustice and suffering endured by her mother and other Muslim women cause her to turn from the Koran in early adolescence, and to begin a journey to redefine her world. Her growing awareness of the class discriminations, gender disparities, and growing religious orthodoxy and intolerance in her family and her rural village parallel the broader social and cultural upheaval emerging in the new nation, and foreshadow the growth of a feminist dissident courageous enough to defy the fundamentalist Muslim clerics.
"Nasrin's voice is the voice of humanism everywhere."-- Wole Soyinka
"I am sure you have become tired of being called 'the female Salman Rushdie' . . . but please know that there are many people in many countries working to . . . defend you against those who would cheerfully see you dead. . . . In the West, there are too many eloquent apologists working to convince people of the fiction that women are not discriminated against in Muslim countries or that, if they are, it has nothing to do with religion."-- Excerpt from an open letter from Salman Rrushdie to Taslima Nasrin