Title: Iban Woman
Author: Golda Mowe
Publisher: Monsoon Books
Iban Woman is the third standalone novel in the Iban series. This book presents the story of Ratai, a young Iban woman who is not so much a woman as regards the social meaning of the word. She is more skilled at hunting than at weaving skirts. War expeditions interest her more than sowing the paddy with other woman of her longhouse.
This book is at once a journey through the very intriguing Iban culture, and Ratai’s quest to find a balance between her desire to be the perfect Iban woman and her lust for adventure. But can she be an adventurer as well as the perfect Iban woman at the same time? Is it possible for a girl like Ratai, belonging to a culture wherein customs are followed so ardently, to fulfill her desires and yet preserve her place as an Iban woman?
While reading this book, I was reminded of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart at several points. These Iban people have gods and godesses of their own. They rely on omens that they find in nature. The reader is acquainted with their traditions- particularly that of weaving skirts. A marriage ceremony also takes place which forms an interesting narrative in the book.
I enjoyed reading this book throughout except for Ratai’s dream sequence. I’m not a fantasy person and that part was a bit difficult to go through for me. But that is a personal issue. As a matter of fact, the book is a work of fantasy and I did enjoy the rest of it. The author could have included a little storytelling sequence- a digression of sorts, to add more flavor.
I also feel that had this book been a first person narrative than third person, it would have appealed to the readers more. Nevertheless it is a lovely read and if you’re fascinated by different cultures, you should definitely pick this up.
My Rating: **** (3.75/5)
What do you think about this book? What are some of the books based in cultures other than yours, that you have read? Do share your views. Thanks.
*I was kindly sent a copy by the publisher in exchange for a review. Views expressed are entirely personal and unbiased.*