Book Reviews

BOOK REVIEWS
Following are only a few of the sites that show reviews of books by Taslima Nasrin.

Revenge

Libres de le dire (Free to Speak)

Meyebela, My Bengali Girlhood

Los Angeles Times Selected Meyebela as One of the Best Books of 2002

“Meyebela” ends at the threshold of this realization. It will be many years until the quiet young girl will find the voice and the heart to commit blasphemy and earn a fatwa or two. Her courage is all the more stunning to those who have lived under the reign of silence that pervades the Muslim world, who have seen how not only men but also very often women join in the effort to perpetuate fear and violence against other females, how a dissenting voice, a rebel mind, is quickly reformed or purged.

23 November 2002

GLOBE AND MAIL, Canada selected Meyebela, one of the best books of 2002
Nasrin tells the often harrowing story of her journey from birth to adolescence. It was necessary for her to create new language to denote this passage, as none existed in her native tongue. The Bengali term for childhood is chelebela: boy-time. Meyebela, an act of radical linguistics, means girl-time.

..The truth, as Nasrin and a handful of other brave souls have dared to utter, is that not all traditions are worthy of keeping, that not all long-held principles are equally valid. Not every word written in a holy book—any holy book—is indeed holy. Not every attempt to bring enlightenment to the shadows of ignorance can be dismissed as ‘cultural imperialism.’..Review
Los Angeles Times

Taslima Nasrin had intimate knowledge of her adversary. Unlike Salman Rushdie, to whom she is often compared, she did not write from the safety of exile or without foreknowledge of the consequences. She was weaned on the particular brand of fanaticism taking hold in post-war Bangladesh. She had grown up clutching the skirts of her increasingly pious mother, who dragged her to the colony of a local charismatic teacher where, with cult-like devotion, women would taste the contents of his spittoon. And she would herself be forced into the cage of the burqa when the maturing body robbed her of what little freedom she enjoyed as a girl. Review
Globe and Mail

Taslima Nasrin, the fiery feminist from Bangladesh who angered the Muslim clergy in her country by questioning the Koran and writing about sexuality, has written a brutally honest and brave memoir of her childhood to the age of 14. Review
Washington Post

Her autobiography, Meyebela (“girlhood” in Bengali), is a richly detailed story of a traditional upbringing amid difficult change…..She became a woman both of controversy and spirit, seeking to heal not only physical but also social ills, regardless of their origin.. Review
USA Today

I believe Nasrin’s Meyebela will, like Huckleberry Finn, become a classic of controversy, hated, loved, banned, made a school text, removed from the schools and fought over as long as people read. But there is an important difference between the two books. Huckleberry Finn is a novel, and, though it has a first-person narrator, there is a clear distance between Huck, the character, a believer who will do what’s right even if it means he has to go to hell, and Twain, the secular-humanist author, who is using Huck to show the hypocrisy of religion. In Meyebela, there is no authorial stance distinct from that of the narrator; the voice is that of the young Taslima as she comes to hate religion and blame God for the cruelties of man. Because all the author’s stories, and all her conclusions, are told in the voice of an angry, rebellious, imaginative child, some may feel they are simplistic. But even those who long for more distance must recognize that Meyebela’s bravery, vividness and groundbreaking subject matter make it a remarkable achievement, and one that will live. Review
The Nation

Meyebela is a rather straightforward book, reminiscent of work by Egypt’s Nawal El Saadawi (also a full-time doctor and activist). While there are more poetic works, such as Fatima Mernissi’s Dreams of Trespass, Tales of a Harem Girlhood, this memoir belongs on the shelf with those of Dorothy Allison, Alice Walker, and others who have pried open doors locked on shattered girlhoods. Review
Village Voice

This moving memoir attempts to demonstrate how it is possible for young women to reach within themselves and nurture their own spiritual life in spite of the physical and emotional pain that men — and tradition-bound societies — can inflict upon them. Review
Indolink

Nasrin writes hauntingly of a childhood of confusion and pain. Review
Publishers Weekly

Nasrin in her memoir tells us what life truly is like for many girls around the world. It is our duty to listen. It is sad though that we can often do little more than be outraged. Review
Desi Journal

If her countrymen want her dead, you know her writings must be exceptionally good, must be enormously powerful, and must be terribly threatening to the existing institution of male domination and patriarchy… Review
APA Book

My Girlhood

But Nasreen is no Rushdie (although they can be compatible spiritual allies). However, the story she seeks to put before us is so deliciously conflicted that it, like an unwiped teardrop, can head only one way: towards the heart. Review
Outlook India

my girlhood speaks of the simplicity and natural delight in things that one is accustomed to right from childhood. These are the rightful staple of existence of every child. To rob one of these, is to nullify one’s entity. The unwarranted, forced precocious ness bestowed upon the girl by ugly ‘snakes’ is just as deplorable as the bloody operatic of war being played out in the nation at large. The book’s transferring gaze explores the social, religious, cultural ethos, and each is commented upon lavishly. Review
Hindustani Times

HONESTY is always disconcerting. Children are good at it, until they learn deceit from their elders. The child remains in the woman, but the woman soon internalises the message that being a good girl means not talking about certain things. Taslima Nasrin, in the consensus opinion of those who presume to judge her, is not a good girl Review

The Hindu

It is commonly said that Taslima Nasrin is an overrated writer. This notion is so strong that it is repeated unthinkingly by people who can neither read nor write Bengali! It is also said that her books sell because of their explicit discussion of sex and sexuality. (Usually such an allegation says something about the reader but nothing about the writer.) Future generations will not dispute that Nasrin has been one of the most important Bengali writers of contemporary times. Moving away from ornate and euphemistic rhetoric, Taslima Nasrin deploys language that is direct, even ruthless. Her feminist politics emerges not out of victomolgy but rage. Her sexual explicitness is daring and unembarrassed. These traits are neither traditionally feminine nor desirable by Bengali canonical standards. Therefore, her writings assail the canon itself and problematizes the notion of what constitutes “literary merit”.Review
Biblio

The pictures emerge like flashes from a colourful kaleidoscope, creating a brilliant image as the author moves back and forth between her own life and that of a fledgling nation. A child like innocence and freshness pervades her sharp observations of Bangladeshi society with its class discriminations and bias, its blatant gender disparities and growing religious orthodoxy and intolerance. Her account is as much a personal record as it is a chronicle of political events in the life of nation. Review
Vedams

Amar Meyebela

Writing the self: Taslima Nasrin’s autobiography and the silent voices of Bengali

feminism. Review

Which is the most debatable book in recent years in Bengali Literature?
‘Aamar Meyebela'(My Girlhood) by Taslima Nasreen. No doubt about it.

Which is the most open, forthright, straightforward and honest autobiography in Bengali Literature?
‘Aamar Meyebela’ by Taslima Nasreen. No doubt about it.

Which book has hurt the soft and suppressed Bengali emotions and sensitivities the most?
‘Aamar Meyebela’ by Taslima Nasreen. No doubt about it. Review

the most debatable book for years in Bengali Literature, Net Guru India

She will call a spade a spade, come what may.
The Tribune Review

Enfance,au feminin

  1. French Review
  2. Express Review

Shodh

“The Ecstatic Female Body in the Contemporary Bangladeshi Novels of Taslima Nasrin,” by Saiyeda Khatun in Genders 1999

A good book

The Game in Reverse

  1. Aubrey review
  2. CHris Lott Review

French Lover

  • Dawn Review
  • The Hindu Literary Review
  • Parabaas Review
  • Vedams Review
  • The Tribune Review

La Hermana De Nupur

  • Seiz Barral Review
  • Spanish Review

Ka

  • Review A cry against a book
  • Review Banned again
  • Review has no lajja about Ka

Lajja

  • la republique des lettres review
  • Review
  • peace-magazine review
  • mouthshut review
  • Kompas review
  • Rada Ivekovic review

Dwikhandito

  • Bengali Review

Selected Columns

  • Tribune Review
  • German Review

Vent en rafales

  • Vent en rafales review
  • Vent en rafales review

 

Shame again is published in Malayalam language in India
The Hindu Review