Layla al-Jihni's fiction: Conceits and deceits

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Sociology, Egyptology & Anthropology Department

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Research Article

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Contemporary Arab Affairs

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Layla al-Jihni is one of several Saudi women novelists whose work has risen to prominence since the 1990s. She writes in a surrealistic, stream-of-consciousness style that features interior monologues and psychological introspection. Her work is published abroad, but on the basis of interviews I conducted with Saudi women, it is accessible in-country. Although al-Jihni is not an activist, and her works do not directly engage matters of policy, her reasons for writing are more than aesthetic and transcend the 'art for art's sake' ethic. Discourse is a source of power and influence, and al-Jihni's fiction contributes to this discourse in ways calculated to broaden the scope of choice for women in Saudi Arabian society. © 2010 The Centre for Arab Unity Studies.

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