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Monday, 11 August 2014

Three Strong Women, 2012, Marie Ndiaye **

Obviously, this novel narrates the story (ordeal) of three women with immigration background in common.  The story started off with Norah. Abandoned by her father who kidnapped her little brother and made her mother go insane. Many years later after seeing her self through school with difficulty, she gave heed to her father's request to do him a favour since she was a lawyer. Seriously? After his psychological abuse and manipulation, you are going back to him? Not just that, he still makes you wet your pants in public? What is more, she is in a relationship with a man she strongly believes to be a failure. Are you kidding me? Why not just leave those that inflict suffering and pain instead of complaining all day long? Truth be told I do not find anything strong about Norah. Her actions and choices were simply annoying.
Secondly, Fanta, whom I did not get to meet, rather, I met her loser of a husband, Rudy Decas, with an itchy anus. Who would not stop blabbing about his misery. I stopped half way, could not put up with him.
Lastly, was Khady, the saddest of them all. Wretched and naive she was. Lost her husband who loved and appreciated her, moved in with her in-laws, who later on sent her away on a road journey to Europe where she let fate decide her destiny.

This novel was such an underwhelming and disappointing experience. The writing style left me unengaged, not sure who to blame, the writer? Or the translator? Since the novel was originally written in French. I was expecting a mind-blowing read and not unjustified pain and misery. Again, the title was downright misleading, though, after reading, one can easily guess that the writer was being ironic. Should I recommend? Unless you want more understanding of what I am talking about. Finally, I wonder what the standards are, by which prizes are awarded to novels.

6 comments:

  1. Wow, I have heard nothing but praise about this novel, but based on what you say (and yours is an opinion I value) it sounds like a major disappointment.

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    1. Hi Lisa,
      My expectations were high for this novel. However, I must confess that I was disappointed, though, I strongly believe that the fact it is a translated version has got a role to play. Also, I found the sufferings and pains inflicted on the women totally gratuitous. They were portrayed as helpless victims of their circumstances seeking for the reader's compassion, when actually they could have made different and better choices since they were "strong"? And the writing style was not helping at all.

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  2. Hmm, interesting Mary. I should love to read this book to see for myself.

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    1. Afua I would so much love to read your opinion to see if we agree to diagree.

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  3. I do still want to read this book, even though I've read mixed reviews of it. Thinking about your comments about Norah, my understanding is that it is quite common for people to stay loyal to their abusers. It's maddening and frustrating and really hard for me to understand as someone who hasn't had that experience, but it isn't unrealistic. Does that mean they aren't strong people? Not necessarily, I think.

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    1. Hi biblio, I guess they are different brands of strong people I was not brought up to comprehend. In my mind, as you said, a logical behaviour would be to flee from an abuser and in my opinion that is one of the characteristics of a strong person. All the same, I would not want to generalise since there are always exceptions. I would love to read your opinion when you've read the novel.

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