Across the first month of 2020, Sophie Baggott is sharing her thirty favourite books by women from across the world. Find out more about her project to read women writers from every country worldwide here.
I picked up this copy of Bride and Groom by Alisa Ganieva (tr. Carol Apollonio) in a bookstore in New York without having heard of it before. I was glad I did! I enjoyed this unusual narrative from Dagestan, and selected it as my book for Russia.
a nutshell: set in a Dagestani village, this incisive novel explores conflicts between tradition and modernisation through the lens of tussling approaches to marriage – it’s a love story with more twists & turns than most
a line: “Without mutations though,” I interrupted, “there is no evolution.” Total silence.
an image: just before our narrator Patya interrupts (above), we’re subjected to the Wahhabi fundamentalist Timur’s sermon on how Western vice causes mutations that lead people astray – “especially girls, with their weaker minds”
a thought: Sufism is an essential subtext of Bride and Groom, with the plot resembling the path of a Sufi to the Absolute and interweaving various Sufi symbols (wine, the sea, a dot); one must seek complete knowledge of being and ultimately merge with God
a fact: Ganieva published her first fictional work (Salam, Dalgat!) under a male pseudonym, revealing her identity at the 2009 awards ceremony of the prestigious Debut Prize which she won
want to read Bride and Groom? visit here