Sotah & The Taliban Cricket Club

Book Pairing

Sotah    The Taliban Cricket Club

If you are interested in the roles of women in religion and how they sometimes feel repressed because of what is expected of them, you may be into titles such as the ones above.  They both take place in comtemporary times but focus on different traditions.  The first novel looks at a newlywed Orthodox Jewish couple, where the wife (Dina), does not feel amorous towards her husband and risks flirting with another married man in thier community.  Set in Jerusalem, she quickly becomes judged because she has started to step outside the boundaries of Orthodox rules, where women must respect and carry out their duties (which include: covering their hair, observing the purity ritual and obeying their husbands).  In the other book, Rukhsana is living under the Taliban regime in war-torn Kabul.  Along with all the other women in her country, she must not be seen in public without being accompanied by a male relative and she can no longer hold a paying job—as a woman’s role is to be in the house or in the grave.  She must wear the traditional garb, which covers her whole body and face.  Playing cricket is the last thing any female would be allowed to do, but she devises a plan to help her family escape by forming a team and entering into the cricket tournament, where the winner will win a trip to Pakistan for training.  Ironically, Rukhsana (dressed as the opposite sex) teaches all her male cousins the rules and strategies of a game that would normally be dominated by men.  In both stories the main characters are forced to face their religious values and decide whether they can accept their restricted way of life or to challenge the status quo in order to live “free”.  Another thread that connects these two novels is the fact that Dina and Rukhsana make sacrifices to bring honour to their families, whether or not they themselves are content in the end.  Also, arranged marriages are part of the books and  are considered the norm in both cultures—despite being part of a modern world.  They are indeed titles I would recommend because of the interesting plots, which actually portray a glimpse of real life.

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