When a Bulbul Sings

When a Bulbul SingsEve, A Highly Intelligent Fourteen Year Old British Girl Taken By Her Parents To A Remote Mountainous Yemeni Village Where Life Has Remained Unchanged Since Ancient Times, Is Forced To Marry An AdultHer Attempts To Escape The Mountains Are Not Only Hindered By The Treacherous Terrain, But Uncle Suleiman, Who Planned For Her Marriage Since First Setting Eyes On Her, Keeps Her Captive Out Of Addiction And Greed Her Desire To Return Home And Enter University Fuels Her Escape Attempts, But Uncle Suleiman S Addiction To Qat And Greed For Money Give Him An Equally Matched Desire To Stop Her From LeavingThis Is The Story Of Eve And Her Fight For Freedom It Is A Story About The Inequality, Injustice And Violations Of Human Rights Millions Of Girls Around The World Face Due To Their Gender Thank you so much to the lovely and kind Hawaa Ayoub for the opportunity to read this book Warning for suggestions of rape It took me a long time to get around to this review but I knew that this beautiful book that Hawaa crafted deserved than just a five stars it deserves to be known by all and to be understood on than just face value To the millions of voiceless child brides still girls or now adults The first line caught my attention immediately I had chills running up my spine I could hear it was from a voice of reason and of many sorrows.The fourteen year old, she no longer exists, But her voice inside me still persists and insists, Asking why, she had to die, Please please, tell her why, She lives no longer, yet is not dead, Her whispers and cries still shatter my head, Can you tell her from your soul within Her sentence began before.And then this introduction, this dedication to the inner child it truly enraptured me and had me weeping from the first page I knew that this book would not only tug at my heart strings and strike the chords, but it would resonate and give me strength for something I had to face truly nothing as horrific as being a child bride, but let me just explain that I played this book in my head and was truly dumbstruck because I had finally found a book that could be a voice for things I had faced as a child and that, that means a lot to not only people subject to being child brides, but anyone who has been sexually assaulted And believe me, that is a lot of people that this book can provide healing to much healing than the MeToo movement ever will In the bright, white sun, bordered by palm trees with curved trunks and green heads that seemed to bow, and acacia trees whose green boughs shivered in the heat, men and women gathered in and around Uncle Faris house made up of many rooms each standing separately around a large yard.Ms Ayoub has a way of setting an atmosphere that sucks you right into the hot, arid Yemen The beginning of the book is so well set up and seems so jovial that it brilliantly marks a stark contrast for what is to come from the mountains to take his beautiful bride by her delicate hand and lead her to her new home, danced and smiled his fair countenance contrasted by his black hair, moustache and eyebrows now looked worried as the bride was not being cooperative, in fact his three relatives two sisters and an Aunt were dragging the poor girl across the length of a narrow windowless room, where they had been preparing her.Now this is one of the best opening chapters I ve ever read in a book.We have a girl who took the hand that life gave her and grabbed the whole arm And this makes her being sold so much worse Everything changes when she s sent on holiday Again, this book is wonderfully set up as it begins with the wedding the scared Eve and her father who hates himself for what he has done to her And so, we slowly find out how all of this has come about.I enjoy how the scenery is described I love a good slow burner Scenery and atmosphere are underrated in books these days, so I really think this is wonderful There would be series of unforeseeable, and unfortunately inauspicious, shocks which would bombard our brave young na ve Eve, and her brothers To begin with the mildest they only became aware the only person, other than they, who spoke English was their elder brother Morad a disadvantage, especially if your parents had neglected to teach you, or even ever talk to you, in Arabic.Imagine being thrown to the side imagine your brother, mother, father everyone ignoring you and sending you off to marry your cousin It s absolutely messed up You get such a feel for the characters from their very first descriptions You either learn to love or hate them almost immediately, and the hatred can go deep He wasn t just watching her, but with quiet smugness measuring, looking at her and imagining, seeing what the future could be and how different his life would be as he stroked his short beard with the back of his index finger A brief lupine smile flickered in his eyes, on the corners of his lips, as if he d won some prize, but he stifled it. The happiest day of her life did not belong to her.The passages are beautiful poetic prose in motion Uncle Suleiman, his wife, Adam and all the other colourful but bitter characters are complex and often we feel small twinges of sympathy for them.Kareema the mother in law the abusive piece of crap Suleiman and Kareema use Eve as leverage for gaining money from their naive, love struck son Adam Such a bitter irony to Adam and Eve it was a futile fight between a slight fourteen year old girl and a fully grown man he had stuffed the end of a shawl into her screaming mouth and continued to rape her until he came With him still inside her, she cried atop a pink silk duvet covering several plush blankets on a high bed, surrounded by blue pillows with woven red roses all around her red, gold, green and silver foil Christmas decorations hanging from the ceiling above her were the only witness to the rape.I won t spoil much of the book any as Eve s journey is something for you as a hopefully future reader to discover the twisted idea of Adam and Eve, and how Eve was victorious above all using her faith, her view spoiler children and new found job hide spoiler disclosure Hawaa Ayoub is my friend on Goodreads, and she sent me a copy of her novel for review When a Bulbul Sings, Hawaa Ayoub s debut novel, tells the story of Eve, a 14 year old girl of Yemeni descent who has been raised in Wales Eve s family returns to their home village, a remote place in the mountains of Yemen, for what she is told will be a holiday Instead, she finds that her father is forcing her into marriage to a grown man she has never met From that moment, Eve s anticipated future finishing school, attending university, starting a career is cut off, as she is essentially held captive in the mountains by her immediate family and in laws The novel chronicles a little over 10 years of Eve s experiences as she struggles to adapt to and escape from her new context.This is one of the most gripping, harrowing stories I ve read, and I could hardly put the book down I always wanted to know what was going to happen next, and if Eve would ever be able to get away from the village I think Ayoub does three things particularly well in the novel First, she conveys what it was like for Eve to learn about a new culture, little by little I love a book that teaches me something about another part of the world As I learned along with Eve, I was often reminded of my experiences in Papua New Guinean villages which obviously have no connection to Yemen, but the similarities were striking the belief that developed nations must have received a special knowledge directly from God Eve s uncle despairs, God gave those instructions for technology to nations in a book and he didn t give us a book the stories about how life in the village used to be easy, but now it s all hard labor pp 148ff skepticism when confronted with new ideas fears about the dangers of city life All of this felt very real to me.Second, Ayoub contributes clear teaching about child marriage I assume many Americans have no idea what this even means, nor that it happens regularly in some parts of the world I had read a couple of articles about it prior to reading When a Bulbul Sings, but I still didn t fully understand it By giving us the full story from the child bride s perspective, Ayoub moves beyond sterile statistics and conveys the true horror of the situation What the book drives home again and again is the loss of the life Eve would have had There just is no way she can return to being 14 and re start her life from that point The forced marriage is a total rupture of who she was The story is unpredictable and therefore entirely gripping because there is no formula, no easy answers.Finally, I appreciated how Ayoub details what it s like to go through depression The cause here is obviously the forced marriage and ongoing loss of freedom, but what Eve suffers to the brink of total breakdown is familiar to anyone who has endured depression A section that begins on page 98 gives an especially clear picture of the depths of depression, with Eve occasionally spending days or weeks shut in her room, unable to move from her bed Losing hope was the worst feeling she had ever encountered, it made her feel so heavy 99.What adds still power to this story is that it is based on Ayoub s own life She was a child bride, and she now writes this book as a survivor I came away from the book in awe of Ayoub s personal strength and endurance As one of Eve s friends says to her, late in the novel, After all you ve been through, how do you carry on How can you smile and laugh 383 I m grateful to God that Ayoub is now able to advocate on behalf of other girls and women who have no voice in the world.I had some lingering questions that weren t resolved in the book largely because the story centers on Eve and only knows what she knows at any given point One question is about her husband, Adam By the end of the book, he seems to have become a lunatic, acting in ways that are illogical even within his cultural framework I wondered what his motivations were, why he persisted in his actions, what he was getting out of the whole thing Was this really just shame avoidance, or was there something that we don t know about My other question is about Eve s father I never understood why he left Yemen originally, nor why at this particular time he decided to return and force Eve into marriage It was unclear to me the significance of the wealth he received from Adam s family Near the end of the story, there are hints of land disputes and difficulties, but no explicit information about the family s situation I know from personal communication with the author that the dowry money was not an enormous sum, and that Eve s father arranged the marriage because of his own fears at her becoming a woman and perhaps having sexual relations outside of marriage I think Ayoub intends to create an unusual flow of writing style, to mimic the Yemeni mountain dialect Eve learns which she later discovers is somewhat archaic and unintelligible in the city As the book describes it, It wasn t whole sentences they didn t understand, just some nouns, verbs, adjectives, and they questioned whether these words were Arabic, some older people said it sounded like an ancient Arabic of Yemen no longer in use 348 Ayoub s style uses rapid fire, run on sentences and slightly incorrect grammar though it is still understandable Unfortunately, the text also suffers a number of editing woes that I believe are simply errors, not intentionally a part of this style So for me, the overall effect was that the book seems to need significant editing It s too bad if these stylistic issues keep some readers from giving the story itself a chance.Despite that criticism, I find this to be an impressive first novel I enjoy Ayoub s obvious love of words and language, and she s a great storyteller The story of Eve is powerful, and anyone who stands for feminism and justice will value When a Bulbul Sings I hope Ayoub will continue to make the world better through her writing. It s a bulbul d o you like its sound They say when a bulbul sings it s to forget all its problems, because when it sings the sound fills its head with beautiful thoughts so there s no room left for its worries, but its song can also make people forget their problems too When a Bulbul Sings is a heartbreaking novel about a woman who was forced into marriage at fourteen years old and her subsequent struggles to obtain a divorce and gain her freedom, which ultimately took over a decade I can usually read a 400 page book in a few days or a week at most, but this story was so sad especially in this current political climate that I had to limit my reading to a few chapters at a time Otherwise my depression would take over When the story begins, fourteen year old Eve is on family vacation to Yemen Her parents are from Yemen, but the family lives in Wales Eve has spent her entire life in Britain, and we learn later that her father had been there for forty years Their vacation destination isn t a resort or even a hotel in a city, but a desolate village deep in the mountains, with no running water or other necessities After a while, Eve realizes that the family has no plans to return to Britain in fact, her father has arranged for her to marry her uncle s son, Adam, who is in his twenties When Eve hears the news, she has an asthma attack She s an average British teen, and is completely shocked that her parents would arrange a forced child marriage When they first get married, Eve and her husband don t even speak the same language so they can t speak openly to one another Eve does eventually learn the local language, but it doesn t do much for her marriage because her husband is gone for months, even years at a time, leaving her behind with her in laws in the village.The first half of the book is mostly about Eve s life in the village as a child bride She learns that her family sold her to Adam, witnesses childbirth in the squalid village conditions, and is exposed to female circumcision There is nothing to do in the village, a harsh change from Eve s previous life as a precocious schoolgirl, so she resorts to reading the labels on medications to feed her mind There are some graphic descriptions of depression, which absolutely broke my heart Eve s life in the village is completely and absolutely controlled by her in laws, and she has no way to escape Not only can she not walk or drive out of the village on her own without the family permission, but she is frequently locked in her room with nothing to do She felt something akin to anger trembling inside her wanting to grow and growl and explode, but by virtue of trained patience it was caged and was no longer raging anger but drenched in dolefulness and her soul flopped How tired she felt despite doing nothing all day what cumbersome sleep now enveloped her it was heavier than sleep, she could feel it shrouding her insides before her eyes shut maybe it was heavy handed death, she hoped It was the only way to escape the pain, let herself give up and slip into this weighty slumber Now all she wanted was to be dead Hunger, she non longer felt Only this painful semi existence Alive but not allowed to live The she stayed in her room not moving, not answering, the reluctant and harder it became to get up and go out, the sadder she became, and the exasperated she felt when they banged at her door, awakening her from heavy sleep, and called out for her All she wanted was, to be left alone to die view spoiler Eve s situation completely changes when the family, concerned that she has not yet become pregnant and apparently not connecting the dots that Eve s husband is never home , takes her from the village to the city to visit a doctor Eve begs the doctor for help to no avail Even if I call the police and they come t hey won t help you unless you have someone from your side of the family to confirm what you say, and still there s not much they could do Not even the authorities dare get involved in family matters, they police aren t much help, and to be honest, you should be afraid of the police it s not like the UK here they abuse their powers and take advantage of vulnerable girls and women, so be careful Beside that your uncle might kill me if I interfere with his family Eve does become pregnant, and eventually gives birth to three children After she becomes a mother, Eve s efforts to leave the village double in strength She begs her husband and her in laws for a divorce, but she is completely at their mercy and powerless to seek a divorce on her own She does manage to leave the village, first to go live with her husband in Saudi, and then back to Yemen, where she is able to continue her education, work to support her family, and eventually, after almost twenty years, is able to get a divorce I am so glad that there was a happy ending, because I don t think I m strong enough emotionally to handle anything else hide spoiler I am very, very impressed by Miss Ayoub s first novel I am also extremely honored to have received a copy in the mail all the way over here in Taipei, Taiwan As a graduate student in Feminist Theory, I focused on women s movements in the Middle East, so When a Bulbul Sings was dealing with an especially powerful topic for me And Yemen is a country where there remains a largely unreported narrative the plight of women FULL review coming in the morning, I wanted to put something down asap, while the last few pages were fresh The story begins in the midst of fourteen year old Eve s forced wedding to Adam while supposedly on a family holiday in Yemen Eve is a studious Welsh girl with dreams of going to university to study law She thought this was going to be a terrific start to travels which she had planned to make when she would be a few years older and be able to travel alone How wrong she was Stuck in a place with no running water and no electricity, her passport confiscated, and repeatedly raped by her new husband, Eve is virtually and sometimes literally a prisoner in Yemen We follow her over the years as she tries to escape her situation by running away or getting a divorce, only to be met by obstacles every step of the way Will Eve ever gain her freedom and, if so, at what cost The title and cover art reflect Maya Angelou s I Know Why a Caged Bird Sings and its inspiration, Paul Laurence Dunbar s poem Sympathy , with their themes of oppression and yearning for freedom The literary writing style won t appeal to everyone, but I found it multi layered, engaging, and full of rich vocabulary Unfortunately, there are also numerous editing errors, including the constant misuse of whom and consistent punctuation errors in dialogue The author, as omniscient narrator, speaks directly to the reader and Eve, making astute observations and throwing in her parenthetical comments along the way She gives us a fascinating glimpse into the lifestyle and traditions of the Yemeni people and offers us a collection of vignettes in which we learn about Eve s day to day life her experiences learning Arabic, finding snakes in the outhouse, the ongoing drought, farming life, raising rabbits, teaching English, and the difficulties of fetching firewood I especially enjoyed the story about the lightning strikes The author also uses Eve s story as a platform to inform us about serious matters, such as the plight of child brides, the true teachings of the Quran, gender roles, and female circumcision Eve alternates between humor, hope, despair, bouts of depression, and resignation, as everybody in her life who was supposed to aid and protect her, love and shelter her, had effectively abandoned her Her story is all the harrowing because it is based on the author s own experiences A touching story of survival against the odds.Warnings sexual references, sex scenes, genital mutilation, child abuse I received this book in return for an honest review.Full blog post 6 October Read the full review at A Review of Hawaa Ayoub s WHEN A BULBUL SINGSHawaa Ayoub s chilling debut novel centers on 14 year old Eve who, after being taken from her home to remote Yemen under the pretense of a temporary visit, is forced into marrying a man over ten years older than her The story is terrifying, infuriating and that of Ayoub herself.Eve, a schoolgirl in the UK, is extremely intelligent, has plans to attend university, and is focused on a bright future Her father takes the family on what he said would be a brief visit to Yemen, the family s country of origin, but the truth is that he intended for the family to stay Worse yet, he forces Eve to marry a man much older than her.The book opens with the terrifying marriage scene with Eve being dragged through the process, begging for it not to happen From the start of the book, the reader experiences Ayoub s talent for description and detail From clothes, to traditions, to smells and sounds, the author s descriptions of life in Yemen are frighteningly at times brought to life.We follow Eve s story throughout the next 15 years The circumstances she endures are heartbreaking and infuriating rape, abuse from her father and in laws, losing her right to education and autonomy But while our heroine surrenders to her new temporary life, she never agrees to it or stops fighting for her freedom.Throughout her entire marriage, Eve demands to be free She asks to return to Britain, or at the very least to a urban center of Yemen or to Saudi Arabia She constantly schemes for ways to escape the situation and begs for a divorce, all to no avail.While she is adept at sharing its horrors, Ayoub also provides an honest portrayal of the daily life of a young girl forced to marry She describes the isolation, the boredom, the repetition of her days, and the relationships with her husband s family The conflict and guilt Eve feels as a young woman who enjoys sex but despises the situation she s been forced into is described as only one who has been there can While a bit protracted at times, I appreciated these candid reflections Ayoub is particularly skilled at providing her readers insights into the dichotomies of Yemen experiencing a beautiful land surrounded by strong traditions and people but all the while being held prisoner there where the traditions are particularly vicious towards women and girls.According to the organization Girls Not Brides, child marriage is a global issue that effects 12 million girls each year nearly 23 girls every minute are forced to marry before the age of 18 Child marriage occurs in many countries throughout the Middle East, Africa, South America, and the United States A young girl forced to marry experiences many injurious effects, especially to her education, her family life, as well as her physical and mental health Hawaa Ayoub was one of those girls and, thankfully, she was able to get out.After 19 years in Yemen, Hawaa Ayoub now lives in London and shares her story to help fight against child marriage in Yemen and throughout the world.Rich and descriptive, When a Bulbul Sings is an important book that candidly describes one girl s harrowing experiences being forced into marriage and her seemingly unending drive for freedom I highly recommend it to those fighting violence against women and girls, those who enjoy reading international women writers, and those interested in creative non fiction and memoirs. An eye opening biographical novel about forced marriage, in this case a 14 year old British girl, Eve, transported to Yemen, a country she finds alien, to be the wife of a man who has paid her father a bride price Eve uses all her intelligence, wits and every opportunity to escape but is forcibly kept even though the laws of Yemen and the laws of Islam forbid this ancient custom Hawaa Ayoub s book shows some editing errors but the story is told with sophistication and heart breaking detail. When a Bulbul SingsWow What a treat of a book this was Once in a while, a book comes along that is autobiographical and the contents stay with you for months and years afterwards When A Bulbul Sings is one of those books Writing about a fictional character but drawing on her own experiences of child marriage, rape, being kept a virtual prisoner in remote mountains, female circumcision this book follows Eve, a fourteen year old girl from Wales, as she is taken to her father s homeland of Yemen on the pretence of a holiday, only to discover her father has sold her to his nephew to be his wife What follows is harrowing but I didn t want to put it down It s taken me a while to read this book because of ill health and family commitments but all the time I wasn t able to read the book, it was always in the back of my mind I loved how Ayoub gets across to the reader that practices such as child marriage and female circumcision are cultural practices and not teachings of Islam We also learn about other traditions and the way of life of these people who s ways haven t changed much in years and years I absolutely loved this book, it was a heartbreaking read but an essential one It s a story that needs to be told, I don t know statistics but I do know that girls are still taken back home on the pretence of a holiday and not heard of again This tale does have a happy ending, so many don t So I thank Hawaa Ayoub for sharing her story and drawing to our attention these issues a five star read that will stay with me for a long time. I couldn t bring myself to finish this book The writing was difficult to follow, and even though I wanted to honor the author s story and effort in writing it, I wasn t compelled to read through it I wonder if a memoir would have been effective, like I am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced Copy provided to me by the author The goal is laudable and understandable, since trying to recreate the reactions, both inner and outer, of a young girl in the deplorable situation she was forced into Empathy aside, however, it is not written well in the usual literary or journalistic senses, making it irritating to read until I had to stop Considering the author s 19 years of separation from English input, I might excuse the incorrect use of whom for who or a runon sentence at times both often , were the characters less wooden The voice over was cute but overdone, giving away the autobiographical inspiration I was tempted to insert an example of doing it to myself to illustrate the effect, less tempted to go search one out of the original Same for the other stylistic problems, so I close here.

[PDF / Epub] ★ When a Bulbul Sings By Hawaa Ayoub – Jobs-in-kingston.co.uk
  • Paperback
  • 402 pages
  • When a Bulbul Sings
  • Hawaa Ayoub
  • English
  • 23 January 2019
  • 9781999626105