Beyut Taskunha Al-Arwah (Houses Haunted by Spirits) by Howaida Saleh, Cairo: General Egyptian Book Organisation, 2012.
The new release by Saleh, published through the New Writings series of the General Egyptian Book Organisation, is an innovative piece that walks the thin line between novel and short stories collection.
The sequential narrative is made up of short stories all featuring the same heroine who accompanies the reader from the first page to the last. The protagonist is suffering anxiety and her psychiatrist treats her and others using storytelling, allowing them to narrate their pains, release their suffering, and allow their spirits to rise higher.
The heroine then decides to write about her own pains through picturing the suffering spirits of those pushed by society to the edge, leading them to near insanity or at the least illness. She particularly tackles the male-dominated society and social consciousness, opening to the unspoken stories of women turned into consumable bodies seen as created for men's pleasures only.