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Ructions in the Seraglio

Ruth Bernard Yeazell, 8 December 1994

The Harem Within: Tales of a Moroccan Girlhood 
by Fatima Mernissi.
Doubleday, 254 pp., £16.99, September 1994, 0 385 40542 1
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Ramza 
by Out elKouloub, translated by Nayra Atiya.
Syracuse, 201 pp., £13.50, July 1994, 0 8156 0280 4
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... the harem is transformed into a nostalgic dream of the extended family. Promiscuous sex, it turns out, is the province of the New York singles scene rather than the mysterious East: the opening sequences give us just enough of the heroine’s pre-abduction life to make it clear that what she lacks is not lovers but a settled home and any genuine connection ...

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