El-Mahraqa by Intesar El-Serry sheds new light on new issues related to life in Yemen, its traditions and the female psyche.
El-Mahraqa describes a woman burning her memories, her childhood pictures, her wedding band and many other items that one would normally hold dear. She feels that she is getting her freedom back from what seem to be bonds put on her by mysterious forces.
The author describes the visit of the death angel, who takes her soul to another dimension. This has been treated a lot in literature, changing the concept of death from a painful, frightening experience into a transition led by a wise visitor.
El-Serry’s exploration of the inner lives and feelings of her female characters, however does bring this collection together and provide a sense of cohesion.
The second idea is that resistance is still an option, but in a kind, subtle way; instead of crying about death, we must continue to live in spite of war.
Other stories deal with the feelings of a rape victim the morning after, the feeling of a rapist choosing his target and persisting in getting his victim the thoughts of a non-virgin bride in her wedding night and a girl buying a dress while seducing the salesman.