Seven

Overview

A rich, soulfully written novel about inheritance and resistance that tests the balance between modern and traditional customs.

When Sharifa accompanies her husband on a marriage-saving trip to India, she thinks that she's going to research her great-great-grandfather, a wealthy business leader and philanthropist. What captures her imagination is not his rags-to-riches story, but the mystery of his four wives, missing from the family lore. She ends up excavating much more than she had imagined.

Sharifa's trip coincides with a time of unrest within her insular and conservative religious community, and there is no escaping its politics. A group of feminists is speaking out against khatna, an age-old ritual they insist is female genital cutting. Sharifa’s two favourite cousins are on opposite sides of the debate and she seeks a middle ground. As the issue heats up, Sharifa discovers an unexpected truth and is forced to take a position.

Reviews

Farzana Doctor is a writer of extraordinary wit, generosity, and ethical commitment; and Seven explores with courage and storytelling finesse the harsh truths within the ideals of kinship and community.

David Chariandy, award-winning author of Brother

Penetrating and subtle, Seven deftly explores loyalty in changing times, what it means and what you give up to be a part of a community, a marriage, and friendships. Sharifa is a sympathetic everywoman; her relationships fully realized and deeply felt in this immersive, absorbing portrait.

Eden Robinson, bestselling author of the Trickster trilogy

In her grand tradition, Farzana Doctor once again pushes us forward with nuanced, layered, inter-generational prose, to bring visibility to an important social issue. An urgent and passionate read.

Vivek Shraya, author of I’m Afraid of Men

A defiant and engrossing novel.

Sarah Schulman, author of Conflict is Not Abuse

Doctor weaves sensitivity and hope into a gripping narrative. [Seven is] a soulfully-written book about a vexed cultural issue.

Masooma Ranalvi, founder of WeSpeakOut.org

About the Author

Farzana Doctor

Posted by Dundurn Guest on December 6, 2014
Farzana Doctor photo

Farzana Doctor

Farzana Doctor is the author of Stealing Nasreen, All Inclusive, and Six Metres of Pavement, which won the 2012 Lambda Literary Award and was shortlisted for the Toronto Book Award. Farzana is one of CBC Books’ Ten Canadian Women Writers You Need to Read Now and the recipient of the Writers’ Trust of Canada’s Dayne Ogilvie Grant. She lives in Toronto.