Right from the outset Brinda J. Mehta’s book claims that it “analyzes the links between creative dissidence and inscriptions of violence in the writings of a selected group of postcolonial Arab women,” including Assia Djebar, Leïla Sebbar, and Maïssa Bey (Algeria and France); Aïcha Ech-Chenna and Laila Lalami (Morocco and the United States); and Faïza Guène (France), Jalila Baccar (Tunisia), and Laila Soliman (Egypt). She argues that these “female authors destabilize essentialist framings of Arab identity through a series of reflective interrogations and “contesting” literary genres” (2). Mehta uses the same essentialist framings about identity that her selected authors are challenging. Not only do many of them identify as Amazigh, but Algerian/Maghrebi cultural anthropologists (Chadli 2009; Djeghloul 1984; Fadhlaoui-Zid et al. 2011; Gaïd 1990; Hannoum 2010; Oulahbib 2007) have denounced the myth...

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