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Reading these reviews did help me place this book within Morocco's political history. The new Moudawana family law code took effect in 2003, the same year that this book ends and a divorce is being worked out by Amina's and the artist's lawyers. There is a possibility that Amina could take him to court and detail his many extramarital affairs, thereby entitling her to a hefty financial settlement. The artist has been told by several of his male friends that they were left destitute in the wake of their divorces, since they were made to give their wives virtually everything (house, car, property, alimony, and other financial payments) in the court-ordered settlement. My assumption is that prior to the enactment of these laws, women/wives had virtually no legal claims against their husbands; men could do as they damn well pleased and the women were helpless and left destitute if they legally ended their marriage. At least this gave me some additional understanding of the overall situation between the artist and his wife, Amina. Without such legal rights, women would definitely be encouraged to remain in marriages despite abuse, unhappiness, etc. We learn the artist is Muslim, as he mentions the Qur'an. When I read this, I wondered what that bit of information was to indicate. That he was the male and therefore should control everything and his wife should be submissive? Or is that simply a 'Western' oversimplification? However, when I discovered Islam is the most common religion in Morocco, I could then understand perhaps a bit better just how the civil law may well override/disrupt the religious practices and challenge the patriarchal hierarchy within family units.
When your life is in someone else's hands, is it still really a life? (27)
The artist convinces Amina to see a marriage counselor, but she only attends one session and when the artist returns by himself:
it prevents us from seeing the vulnerabilities of others, the occasionally cavernous wounds
of those who are struck down by fate. We simply walk past them, and while in the best of cases we feel a pang of pity, we ultimately continue on our own path. (21)
but at least far removed from her. (160)
forgetting to acknowledge his share of responsibility for that failure. (11)
Imane's story of the woman who literally ate her husband and only spit him out when she wanted him out, and he would always do her bidding.
Join us on June 6th
when we review
The Disobedient Wife
by Annika Milisic-Stanley