The Forbidden Woman
tells the story of Sultana, an Algerian woman doctor who, after years spent living in France, returns to her native village in order to attend the funeral of a former lover. The clash between her origins and the Westernized life she now leads is explored in telling detail against the backdrop of current events in Algeria. A work that combines insight into both political and personal matters, The Forbidden Woman
develops a complex portrait of a country torn between progress and prejudice, secular life and Islamic fundamentalism.
In this passionate book, Malika Mokeddem places special emphasis on the position of women in modern Algeria. The frequent indignities and injustices suffered by the narrator reflect the plight of women in a society marked by patriarchalism and religious fundamentalism. Yet the novel also suggests that, along with modernization, there are emerging demands for women’s rights in Algeria—demands that might well signal a vastly different future for this tormented nation.