Books By Jean Sasson

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As a token of submission, I lower my eyes and promise compliance. My heart is smiling, for on this night I have made a brilliant discovery that the men of my family are locked to me as if by a chain, that their dominance jails them as surely as it imprisons me. 

As I say good night to my father and brother, I think to myself: complete power poisons the hand of the person that holds it. 

Cheated of my blood, Ali is displeased and gruff in our parting. He would like nothing better than to see me placed under house arrest, but he cannot risk the wound to his male pride that would come from being associated by blood with such a one as I. 

I give him an especially warm farewell, whispering in his ear: "Ali, you must remember that not everyone in chains can be subdued." 

It is a great triumph! 

Kareem is sullen and stubborn as we make our way home. He smokes one cigarette after another, soundly cursing the Filipino driver on three occasions for not driving to suit his master. 

I lean my face against the car window, seeing nothing of what we pass on the Riyadh streets. I brace myself for a second battle, for I understand that I cannot escape Kareem's great anger. 

Once locked in our bedroom, Kareem grabs the pages of the book. He begins to read aloud the passages that most insult him: "His facade was wisdom and kindness; his very bowels were cunning and selfish. I was disgusted to discover that he was merely a shell of a man with little to commend him, after all!" 

There is a strain of sympathy in my thoughts, for what human would not feel pain and fury at public notification of their weakest traits. I fight the emotion, forcing myself to recall the activities of my husband that led to my own pain and grief so vividly portrayed in the book. 

I am in a dilemma, knowing not whether to laugh or to cry. 

Kareem solves the problem for me with his exaggerated behavior. My husband waves his arms and stomps his feet.


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