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Leila Abouzeid’s year of the elephant: a post‐colonial reading Islam and the Modern Moroccan Woman in the Works of Leila Abouzeid. This revised edition of pioneering Moroccan author Leila Abouzeid’s novella and short stories—which has sold more than copies in English—features a. This is the context in which Leila Abouzeid writes. Year of the Elephant is the first novel by a Moroccan woman to be translated from Arabic to English, and.

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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Elpehant. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Year of the Elephant by Leila Abouzeid.

Year of the Elephant: Offering a fictional treatment to a Muslim woman’s life, here, a personal and family crisis impells the heroine to reexamine traditional cultural attitudes toward women. Both obstacles and support systems change as she actively participates in the struggle for Moroccan independence from France. Paperbackpages. Elila see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

To ask other readers questions about Year of the Elephantplease sign up. Lists with This Book. Jul 25, Sue rated it really liked it Recommends it for: The independence of Abouzeid’s subtitle is both personal and national.

A woman yesr from marriage through a painful loss of place when her husband tells her their marriage is over and she will receive “whatever the law provides”. It is also the chronicle of the Moroccan move toward tthe and her part in the resistance. And the seeming disconnect between these two women.

Expenses for a hundred days? Soon snow will fall and the trees will assume strange shapes in the white vastness like works of modern sculpture. In light of what is happening through the Arab world, I find the following very important: In fact, we loaded Independence down with a burden it could not bear A abohzeid strong collection and I will look for more from this author. View all 10 comments. Jul 12, Namrirru rated it it was amazing Shelves: It shows the conflicting visions of colonial independance in Morocco.

What the reader comes to find is that women fought in the struggle as much as the men. But after independance, while the men stepped into the power vacuum that the French left behind, the women either didn’t benefit at all besides becoming the wife of a suddenly rich man or were in a worse position than they were before such as the lead character in the novel.

Feb 04, Melanie rated it liked it Shelves: Her personal experience of this tumultuous period entwines the challenges of post-colonial Morocco with the challenges of post-married life. Prior to national eyar personal independence, purpose and conviction drove Abouzeid to carry out dangerous missions as a member of the Resistance.

When the Resistance finally achieved its aim of Independence, Abouzeid’s husband and fellow freedom fighter received an appointment to political office.

Abouzeid, in contrast, received notification of divorce and a paltry financial compensation tbe only served to humiliate her. Elephantt understand Abouzeid’s narrative as a social commentary from the perspective of all Moroccans who risked their lives for national independence, only to find disappointment following the success of that endeavor. People attributed benevolence, generosity, leilw wisdom to the Sultan, but Abouzeid finds that poverty and injustic remain even after the Sultan returns to leial throne.

Year of the Elephant: A Moroccan Woman’s Journey Toward Independence

One key aspect of this injustic in her narrative is her position as a woman dependent on a man who treats her as less than an equal. The institutions support his actions, leaving Abouzeid scarred and disappointed in the behavior of all the authority figures in her life. She lei,a peace and reassurance by resorting to Diving authority and to the hope in ultimate justice.


The poor, wise sheikh of lelia village and his simple life inspire her to hold to her ideads and ethics.

Year of the Elephant: A Moroccan Woman’s Journey Toward Independence by Leila Abouzeid

Thus her answer to those disappointed in authorities, especially to women, is to ground themselves in the deepest roots of their identities to find strength, purpose, and inspiration. Jul 15, Sunny rated it liked it Shelves: Maybe this would have had more of an impact on me if I could have read it in its native Arab language.

I taught English in Rabat for 2 weeks in the early s which is where a lot of the novel is set but I still found this a little hard to engage with. The story is about a young woman who gains independence juxtaposed against the events of her own country Morocco gaining independence at the same time. The match-off of the macro and her personal micro is not an unusual theme.

Faulks does it we Maybe this would have had more of an impact on me if I could have read it in its native Arab language. Faulks does it well in Birdsong going from graphic war scenes to graphic love scenes. I used this course in an introductory anthropology course and the students seemed to enjoy it.

It is very well written translated, is the more appropriate term. My students didn’t have a difficult time with the text even though they did not know much about Moroccan history.

Personally, I think the text is excellent. It’s sophisticated yet simple and it offers an enjoyable yet gripping story. I will use the text again and am happy to read it one, two, or even three more times. Aug 03, Marieke rated it liked it Shelves: I need to reread this. This is a strong three, not wishy-washy three, and might be four if I reread it as a good, attentive reader. Nov 28, Merilee rated it liked it. The novella was fairly interesting but I didn’t enjoy the stories at all.

Oct 29, Tamara Coleman rated it really liked it. A bit sensational, but overall a great tale that analyses the experience of working class women post Moroccan independence from France. Oct 16, Helynne rated it liked it. This short novella first published in Arabic inand in English elephannt in it is more typical for Moroccan literature to be written originally in Frenchmakes two bold statements: Although Morocco was granted independence in without the protracted war and leephant that Algeria underwent This short novella first published in Arabic inand in English translation in it is more typical for Moroccan literature to be written originally in Frenchmakes two bold statements: Although Morocco was granted independence in without the protracted war and bloodshed that Algeria underwent in to shake off French rule, independence for this small Atlantic-Mediterreanean country was still a long and painful process.

Leila Abouzeid was born ina product of independent Morocco, and became a respected journalist and TV anchorwoman in her country. However, she begins her story in during the Casablanca massacre when hundreds of protesting Moroccans were shot by French police. Her title comes from an important battle in early Islam when foreign tribes riding elephants marched on the sanctuary of Mecca.

Barbara Hallow, author of the book’s preface, states, ” The battle of the Year of the Elephant in about A. The political events of form a backdrop to the story of Zahra, who has just been divorced by her husband of 40 years for being too traditional and out of step with modern life.


I don’t speak French. I don’t sit with men. I don’t go out to fancy dinners” Once, rich and pampered by her husband, Zahra describes how he announced to her their divorce. How worthless a woman is if she can be returned with a paper lekla like some leils object!

Any objection [a wife] might raise is shattered with one decisive blow. There is nothing more to add” 8. Fortunately, Zahra does have some property–a small room in her native town that was left to her by her father.

Leila Abouzeid – Wikipedia

This is where she makes her new, lonely home, as she looks backward on the events of and her role in Moroccan independence. She refuses to live with her married sister and be supported by her brother-in-law, thus angering and alienating her only family members. Zarha gets a job and resigns herself to her fate–poverty and loneliness. The short stories that follow in this volume are not much more upbeat, and most deal with yea plight of the elepahnt woman and the cultural concept of how quickly and whimsically a husband may decide to divorce his wife–with immediate and sorrowful results for her.

Apr 21, Si Med rated it it was ok. May 17, Billie Rain rated it it was amazing Shelves: Zahra’s story functions simultaneously to break stereotypes of Arab women and to uplift and challenge readers to be our best selves. Aug 07, Georgia rated it really liked it. Leila brings me to the Atlas Mountains again.

We drink tea and sit among its savvy people talking like old friends. She has walked these streets, knowing each cobblestone since she was a child, she has been worn down by the warm summers without end and I am the traveler that sees only the beauty of the evening sky that licks the clouds with fire.

I hear the call to prayer and know that I will always remember the sweetness of those nights in Abouzeir Ksiba where brilliant men smoke cigarettes in cafes Leila brings me to the Atlas Mountains again.

I hear the call to prayer and know that I will always remember the sweetness of those nights avouzeid El Ksiba where brilliant men smoke cigarettes in cafes and beautiful dark haired children roam the streets together laughing into the night sky before their mothers call them home.

Leila cleans the window for me and forces abouzeic to look into the past, her people sacrificing themselves for these keila dark haired children.

Why so many young lives I wonder? Why so many willing to die for a small taste of freedom? I can only cry at these visions and thank her for the stories that lead me to this place in Morocco that claimed my heart, that claimed my imagination and gave me a home that I will never part from. Leila Abouzeid was bold to present the hard trials of a divorced woman, an outcast in her community, who struggles to make a new life for herself.

A pity they were so easily forgotten… Aug 17, Barbara rated it liked it.