The Dancer from Khiva: One Muslim Woman's Quest for Freedom

The Dancer from Khiva: One Muslim Woman's Quest for FreedomThe Dancer from Khiva is an autobiographic work Born on the thirteenth of January, many of the major events of Bibish s life took place on a thirteenth of one month or another, yet, while seeing herself as unlucky, Bibish does not allow her fate to be predestined When Bibish was raped, it seems almost as if it was a catharsis by seeing herself as spoiled goods, Bibish sheds her societal restrictors and allows herself to dance.Bibish is constantly acting even when her hope wanes she cannot stand still and refuses to retreat into the shadows It is not an aggressive action, but she is unrepentant for acting on her own instincts When defying her community s traditions which happens repeatedly throughout the book , she is not rebellious so much as strong willed It is Bibish s kinetic energy that engages one s interest throughout The Dancer from Khiva We imagine how many women s energy could have remained purely potential.Bibish tells a compelling story of her own life now from the point of view of a mother softened by the passage of time and the impulse to protect , yet the writing comes across as childish but not na ve One of the hardest tasks to perform is to translate a text without losing the essential meaning of the work, and so one gives allowances for the way the narrative seems to drone on endlessly At the same time, the endless narration conveys an inappropriate sense of detachment, making Bibish s life sounds like fiction than fact, and thus detracting from the potential impact of the form making it an autobiography without pathos Conversely, telling it almost as though it were someone else s life, Bibish seems to acknowledge that it just as easily could not have been her own, making it seem ever fantastic.Review by Elisheva Zakheim I understand that she wrote this book without any professional experience and it was conversation like narration but it was random and all over the place The actual events that took place in her life were very tragic and sad but the book follows no consistent pattern and you think certain events mentioned will have some significance later on and they don t There is really no emphasis at all about her dancing, it s kind of misleading. An interesting book It was written by the original author, Bibish as a kind of diary record of her life not intended for publication initially It was only many years later when a group of American s were staying with her when she lived in Russia that they offered to have it translated and published for her.Bibish was born and raised in a very strict, religious, Muslim community and had a pretty awful life As is often the case in Muslim communities, women were very much second class citizens and very restricted as to what they were allowed to do.This poor child at the age of 8 was raped by a gang of men and then buried in the sand of the desert to die An old shepherd man rescued her and fed her but once she was well he decided that she could be his and be used for his pleasure sexually She managed to escape and get back to her family but her return was hardly greeted with great joy Her life was full of challenges and disappointments but she was determined and managed to manipulate her way into a college and get a teacher s qualification but despite this, she struggled on She managed to make her way to Russia but had no money so returned home.The story is truly amazing that anyone could struggle on despite all the setbacks She married a man whom she loved and they stayed together, had children but it was not n easy life by any means Despite that, the book didn t read as a poor me tale The story was factual with great descriptions to give the reader a picture of the place and events I think the translator did a great job as the book was written in the language of Uzbekistan with Russian vocabulary as times when Bibish was describing her confusion with that language Considering this was not written by someone who was an author it is well written and really tells a fascinating story. Around the World challenge Uzbekistan 3,5 5 What fascinated me the most about this book is the fact it takes place at a crossroad between two cultures that were very separate in my mind until now Muslim Central Asia and USSR The most interesting part to me was the author s emigration to Russia and her struggle to adapt to her new life It s also true the writing style is simple but keep in mind that the original version wasn t written in her first language and this is a translation The mere fact that this book exists profoundly touched me. Really disliked this book The writing style was poor and almost child like, I hated the way she kept stopping to introduce her next story complete with story title like Aesop s Fables or something, and the story itself was disjointed and jumping around all over the place instead of being a cohesive memoir She mentions thinks like her childhood rape then mostly glosses over the aftermath and the other things you want to read about, instead choosing to talk about mundane things that you don t really want to know I was expecting a brutal story of bullying, misery and the quest for freedom from a brutal regime but it just didn t deliver what was promised We didn t hear about the emotional recovery from two brutal gang rapes, the intense bullying from family and friends after she started dancing, the suffering she says her upbringing caused herto be a good memoir you need to connect with your readers and let them share your fear, horror and pain, then take them on the journey as you overcome it all but this author didn t reach out to us, just skipped what she didn t want to share so I felt no connection to Bibish or her story A real let down I m afraid. Uzbekistan Sometimes I used to think it would have been better for me to die then, when I was five, so that I wouldn t suffer any Sometimes I even wanted to die Simply die and nothing else Without joy it is impossible to live Without joy you grow old straightaway After all, some fine day we re all going to die It s better to bring people joy than cause them terrible pain. I really liked this book I like that she wrote it as though she were just talking to you and telling her story face to face I m still not sure why it says one muslim woman s quest for freedom in the description though Maybe the publisher thought it would make for a good sale At some points in this book I wanted to cry, and then at some points I was laughing so hard I did cry She is a very spirited woman, but I just wish that she would stand up for herself a little She doesn t dwell on the bad things She tells it like it is and then moves on I m left with the impression that she plans to write a sequal and thats why the ending was a bit abrupt. FIRST LINE REVIEW I will tell you my story to unburden my heart a little I broke my 50 page rule with this because I wanted to add it to my journey through books from every country in the world and because it was fairly short But good grief This was one of the most poorly written books I ve read I don t put the blame on the author as much as the editor and publisher who believed this book was worth printing and did such a pathetic job of helping it along I would be so embarrassed if I were them Spare yourselves An Unflinchingly Honest Memoir, The Dancer From Khiva Is A True Story That Offers Remarkable Insights Into Central Asian Culture Through The Harrowing Experiences Of A Young GirlIn A Narrative That Flows Like A Late Night Confession, Bibish Recounts Her Story Born To An Impoverished Family In A Deeply Religious Village In Uzbekistan, Bibish Was Named Hadjarbibi In Honor Of Her Grandfather S Hadj, Or Pilgrimage To Mecca But The Holy Name Did Not Protect Her From Being Gang Raped At The Age Of Eight And Left For Dead In The Desert Bibish S Tenacity Helped Her Survive, But In The Coming Years, That Same Tough Spiritedness Caused Her To Be Beaten, Victimized, And Ostracized From Her Family And Community Despite The Seeming Hopelessness Of Being A Woman In Such A Cruelly Patriarchal Society, Bibish Secretly Cultivated Her Own Dreams Of Dancing, Of Raising A Family, And Of Telling Her Story To The WorldThe Product Of Incredible Resilience And Spirit, The Dancer From Khiva Is A Harrowing, Clear Eyed Dispatch From A Land Where Thousands Of Such Stories Have Been Silenced It Is A Testament To Bibish S Fierce Will And Courage The Searing, Fast Paced Tale Of A Woman Who Risked Everything The Dancer from Kiva had a very unique narrative style childlike but with an adult perspective It was very much like listening to someone just tell the story of their life while sitting in your living room informal and familiar with side tracks and circling around and coming back all in one long narrative arc Although plain in the sense of no outstanding accomplishments, Bibish s story is one of resilience, of coming up against some of the darkest things the world has to offer and still finding a way through Some of the things she does to pursue her own way are breathtaking in their courage when the reality of the situation sinks inI could not imagine traveling to a random city in the hopes of somebody I had met and gotten to know over the course of a few weeks being willing to welcome me in to stay but that s exactly what she does Bibish endures, no matter what the world throws at her, and refuses to give up on fighting for own life and livelihood womenwritersoftheworld Central Asia selection Uzbekistan

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  • Paperback
  • 248 pages
  • The Dancer from Khiva: One Muslim Woman's Quest for Freedom
  • Bibish
  • English
  • 05 June 2017
  • 9780802170507

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