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January 23, 2006

Rajaa's Tale...The Courage to Write

Young author breaks taboos By Donna Abu-Nasr December 17, 2005 RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) - It's hardly Sex and the City, but by Saudi standards The Girls of Riyadh is a bombshell. The fictional tale of the loves, dreams and disappointments of four young women in the capital has, not surprisingly, drawn criticism in a country where women are not supposed to date or have a love life until married. More striking, however, is the degree of support being voiced for 24-year-old author Rajaa al-Sanie and her first novel. In the novel, Sadeem's husband divorces her because she's too sexually bold for his liking. Qamra discovers soon after her wedding that her husband is in love with a Japanese woman. Mashael's boyfriend cannot marry her because her mother is American. Only Lamis finds true and lasting love. The Girls of Riyadh was published in September in Lebanon, the most liberal of Arab countries, and is going into its third printing. In Saudi Arabia, where the sexes are strictly segregated, authorities haven't decided whether to approve its sale, but pirated editions are circulating in photocopy form. (continued...) Image released by Rajaa al-Sanie on Thursday Dec. 14, 2005 shows Saudi author Rajaa al-Sanie, 24, in Nov. 2005, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (AP/HO)

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