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A rich, soulfully written novel about inheritance and resistance that tests the balance between modern and traditional customs.
When Sharifa accompanies her husband on a marriage-saving trip to India, she thinks that she's going to research her great-great-grandfather, a wealthy business leader and philanthropist. What captures her imagination is not his rags-to-riches story, but the mystery of his four wives, missing from the family lore. She ends up excavating much more than she had imagined.
Sharifa's trip coincides with a time of unrest within her insular and conservative religious community, and there is no escaping its politics. A group of feminists is speaking out against khatna, an age-old ritual they insist is female genital cutting. Sharifa’s two favourite cousins are on opposite sides of the debate, and she seeks a middle ground. As the issue heats up, Sharifa discovers an unexpected truth and is forced to take a position.
PRAISE FOR SEVEN:
--"The feminist novel of the year." Susan G. Cole, NOW Magazine (The Ten Best Books of 2020)
--"Despite it's subject matter, no part of this novel was especially difficult to read, and the author Farzana Doctor includes moments of humour, even eroticism...be prepared for this novel to stay with you for a long time."--Jade Colbert, Globe and Mail (The Best Independent Reads to Pick Up This Fall).
--"Penetrating and subtle, Seven deftly explores loyalty in changing times, what it means and what you give up to be a part of a community, a marriage, and friendships." -Eden Robinson, author of Trickster Drift.
--"Compelling and bold, Farzana Doctor's latest novel is an urgent exploration of women's agency in religion and tradition. Seven is fully feminist and ambitiously bold; this is an important book for our changing times."-Karla Strand, Ms. Magazine.
--"Farzana Doctor’s powerful new novel ‘Seven’ is about female genital mutilation and the damage it causes with subterfuge and betrayal as much as the knife."-Bert Archer, Toronto Star
--"A defiant and engrossing novel."-Sarah Schulman, author of Conflict is Not Abuse.
--"A sabbatical trip leads to unearthed family secrets in Farzana Doctor’s luminous novel...an intimate, gutsy feminist novel that exposes the lasting, individual impacts of making women’s bodies fodder for displays of religious obeisance." -Michelle Ann Schingler, Foreword Reviews
--"Her new novel, Seven—a generational story about indoctrination and the ordeal of khatna—is a powerful example of reclaiming the narrative of survivorship and turning a critical-yet-compassionate eye on communal duty."-Sheima Benembarek, The Walrus
--"In her grand tradition, Farzana Doctor once again pushes us forward with nuanced, layered, inter-generational prose, to bring visibility to an important social issue. An urgent and passionate read."-Vivek Shraya, author of I'm Afraid of Men.
--"Her novel's willingness to engage readers with this challenging, important subject matter is invaluable."-Emily Dziuban, Booklist
--"In generous, inviting prose, Doctor deftly tackles intergenerational trauma through a distinctly feminist lens. With Seven, she offers an absorbing family drama that confronts the question of what to do when the bonds that tie a family together become the very things that also tear them apart." Anuja Varghese, This Magazine
--"Farzana Doctor is a writer of extraordinary wit, generosity, and ethical commitment; and Seven explores with courage and storytelling finesse the harsh truths within the ideals of kinship and community."-David Chariandy, author of Brother.
--"Visceral and emotional... a courageous feat." -Manahil Bandukwala, Starred Review in Quill &Quire
--"Seven presents a messy situation and Doctor skillfully curates the disarray into a rewarding and consistently engaging read." Marcie McCauley, Hamilton Review of Books
--"A brave and beautiful book."-Judy Rebick, author of Heroes in My Head.
--"A remarkable balance is required to create a novel about Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) that is also a pleasure to read, but Farzana Doctor pulls it off with Seven, a book that is also about marriage, family, motherhood, sexuality, and rediscovering one’s self and purpose at mid-life."-Kerry Clare, Pickle Me This
--"Doctor weaves sensitivity and hope into a gripping narrative. A soulfully-written book about a vexed cultural issue."-Masooma Ranalvi, Founder and India Lead, WeSpeakOut.org
--"Doctor is not afraid to address injustice cloaked as religion in a world filled with the roar of #MeToo." -Zahra Khozema, Broadview Magazine.
--"Family secrets, loyalty, and betrayal lie at the heart of Seven. Delving into history can unearth deeper mysteries than one bargained for." —Zarqa Nawaz, author of Laughing All The Way To The Mosque and creator of Little Mosque on the Prairie
--Seven is a brave and thoughtful book about recovering from unearthed trauma, and the near impossible process of taking control to regain a feeling of safety. It celebrates the empowerment necessary to undo the slights of the past, and the vital work needed to prevent that harm from coming to others in the future. But more than all of that, this is a book about the fierce love between a mother and daughter, and how the protection of that love can overcome so much harm. -Stacey May Fowles, This Magazine
TEACHERS AND ACADEMICS: Seven would be appropriate as a course text for a number of disciplines/topic areas, including Women/Gender Studies, Sexuality, Social Work, Sociology, Psychology, South Asian Studies, Religious Studies and English. If you are interested in using my books as course texts, contact the publishers for a review copy. I may be available to come speak to your class.
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