Magical Realism as Feminist Discourse in Raja Alem’s Fatma: A Novel of Arabia

  •  Laila Al-Sharqi    


This article investigates Raja Alem’s Fatma: A Novel of Arabia (2002) as a narrative that appropriates magical realist techniques in the service of the feminist project of critiquing patriarchal notions and practices in contemporary Saudi society. Although Alem is credited by Arab and international critics as a major Saudi writer of the fantastical, it is Fatma that largely establishes her specific reputation as a magical realist. This article provides a close reading and critical analysis substantiating Alem’s extensive use of magical realist techniques. The fabulous and the real converge to create a mysterious universe wherein various times and spaces are merged together to question contemporary society’s assumptions around gender, gender ideology, and feminist issues—a central theme in contemporary Saudi fiction—thereby giving voice to the marginalized female character depicted in Fatma.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1925-4768
  • ISSN(Online): 1925-4776
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: quarterly

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