Naima: Fictional story
Naima by Hisham Matar, is a fictional story about Nuri Habibi’s family, including notonly her mother, but also her father as well as Naima.The author primarily chooses to highlight the instances of awkward and at times joyful interactions with her parents, particularly her mother. Nuri also focuses on the story of her interactions and fondness for Naima, who happened to be the family’s maid. The story starts with a narration of Nuri’s mother in Cairo, and her dislike of the heat and the sun characterized by her refusal to wear a swim suit and bask in the sun or surrender herself to the sun as indicated by the narrator. However, in addition to highlighting the intrigues that plagued her life, Nuri also depicts her mother as a quiet submissive and efficient wife and mother, as well as a very cooperative wife. This point is further reaffirmed by Nuri’s descriptions of how life changed following the death of her mother, more so the manner with how she found it quite difficult to relate to the father, as well as the difficulties she experienced connecting with her father.
Other than the relationships of the characters mentioned, the manner with which the author described Naima, indicates that Naima holds a special place in her heart, regardless of her lack of approval of how Naima fulfils her duties. Nuri is therefore appreciative of all those in her life, as can be seen in the way she opts to describe them, to an extent even dream about them. In addition, the author portrays a picture of one who believes that their move to Egypt was not really proper for the family, as seemingly none of group members seems to enjoy the journey.
The narrative however, also reveals interesting facts regarding human interaction, particularly within very tightly knit family units. Nuri however, seems to disagreed with a number of things that the father is engaged in, as can be seen from the manner with which she contemptuously describes her relationship with her father, as well as the relationship between her father and the mother. Nuri highlights a number of disagreements between her father and mother, which one could argue are a typical demonstration of the potential difficulties that women encounter every day. At the same, the narrative also reveals the significant of the mother within the home, as she was essentially the most important member of the family, missed by both the husband and Nuri.
The story by Matar depicts the disadvantages of certain cultural beliefs, as well as the damage that can arise from the encouragement of discriminatory practices. Nuri’s mum was a significant go between when it came to interactions between father and daughter, a relationship that suffers significantly following the death of the mother. Nuri narrates that with the absence of their very trusted go between, her father finds it hard to even look her in the eye. Seemingly her father does not have a relationship with her, making it plausible to argue that perhaps this is as a result of how society views women. This if further reaffirmed by the manner of conversations her father has with her mother, to the extent of even berating her for believing in God, as seen when he says “You talk about him as if he’s a friend of yours,” indicative of how he views her.