Black Cat, 2008
As of late I find that I am reading more and more books about the struggle of women in the world. In The Dancer From Khiva (Black Cat, 2008), the reader enters the world of a young Muslim woman who, after a violent attack, leaves her small town for the larger world outside. Written by Bibish, the tale is told in journal form with no censorship; rather, each detail of this woman's difficult (and at time heartbreaking) life are told in unflinching detail and brutal honesty. Poor, yet filled with a sense of hope, Bibish is met with constant trials - many of which are initiated by the men in her life. Ultimately she is ostracized by the family to whom she returns and must make her way in the world on her own.
The seeming simple language belies a strong story of pain, persecution and persistence. Bibish represents the many women who are fighting against the culture in which they were born; the culture from which they can not break free. Winner of the National Bestseller and Book of the Year prizes in Russia, this is a book that all Americans should read - a book that will teach compassion, strength and the undying importance of a belief in one's self.