"In this stunningly written book, a Western trained Muslim doctor brings alive what it means for a woman to live in the Saudi Kingdom. I've rarely experienced so vividly the shunning and shaming, racism and anti-Semitism, but the surprise is how Dr. Ahmed also finds tenderness at the tattered edges of extremism, and a life-changing pilgrimage back to her Muslim faith." - Gail Sheehy
The decisions that change your life are often the most impulsive ones.
Unexpectedly denied a visa to remain in the United States, Qanta Ahmed, a young British Muslim doctor, becomes an outcast in motion. On a whim, she accepts an exciting position in Saudi Arabia. This is not just a new job; this is a chance at adventure in an exotic land she thinks she understands, a place she hopes she will belong.
What she discovers is vastly different. The Kingdom is a world apart, a land of unparralled contrast. She finds rejection and scorn in the places she believed would most embrace her, but also humor, honesty, loyalty and love.
And for Qanta, more than anything, it is a land of opportunity. A place where she discovers what it takes for one woman to recreate herself in the land of invisible women.
I really enjoyed In the Land of Invisible Women and was very pleasantly surprised by it. I have no way of knowing if it accurately represents Saudi culture and society, but it doesn’t paint Saudi women as ignorant and helpless, and it doesn’t demonize Saudis in general. It depicts a Saudi Arabia much different from that seen on CNN. And as a Muslim, I feel that she accurately represented Islam as a merciful and peaceful religious, despite some of the ultra-orthodox crazies she had to deal with. Qanta is intuitive and highly intelligent as well as observant, which makes her the perfect person to deal with the numerous complex issues that popped up in this book.
Although written by a Muslim woman, I still expected it to be about how Saudi women are helpless and need to be liberated by the West. It wasn’t that at all. Qanta encounters many strong, highly intelligent and diplomatic women while in the Kingdom and learns to appreciate and attempts to understand all the struggles they go through in order to get to where they are. In the Land of Invisible Women is also about a personal journey she goes through to learn more about her religion and become a better Muslim.