Desert Fever: Women in Saudi Arabia Through the Eyes of Palestinian Writers

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The article examines the situation of women in Saudi Arabia and their changing status as reflected in the writings of two Palestinian writers. It focuses on the way in which the Palestinian writer amāl Yūnis in his novel The Head documents and criticizes the status of women in the Saudi society. It compares it to Ibrāhīm Narallāh's famous novella Prairies of Fever, showing that both works emphasize the loneliness and gloom which women suffer and the false freedom that other women enjoy. The article argues that the focus on women is actually a kind of fictional strategy which aims at stressing the suffering of similar marginal groups in the Saudi society, especially immigrants, and at showing that things have changed there only ostensibly, and that ultimately anyone who stays there will be afflicted with "fever. This link appears in Narallāh's work, however in Yūnis's book it is heavily accentuated, and is reflected also in the use of a unique motif of a head throughout the novel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalOriente Moderno
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Dorit Gottesfeld, 2023. Published with license by Koninklijke Brill NV.


  • Ibrāhīm Narallāh
  • Palestinian literature
  • Saudi Arabia
  • amāl Yūnis


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