Sahar Abdulaziz is the author of four books. Her latest book, The Broken Half tells the story of Zahra, an American Muslim woman whose marriage is anything but peaceful. She must choose whether the stay or leave, neither choice is recommended and both are risky and uncertain.
The Sahar Abdulaziz Interview
What is one thing that no-one would usually know about you?
In the fourth grade, I played the illustrious and complex role of Kitty Carrot, and while I was an excellent carrot, I was secretly broken-hearted. Initially, you see, I had tried out for the starring role of Mrs. Rabbit. But alas, I was turned down. Cast aside. Bounced out. Devastated and mortally wounded I came home in tears. As a result, my acting career has never been the same since, although despite this apparent oversight on the part of the director [actually my 4th-grade teacher] carrots continue to be one of my favorite vegetables.
What did the best review you ever had say about you and your work?
I am deeply grateful for all the positive reviews I have received for my work. However, this reader’s critical evaluation concisely communicated the subject matter I had set out to expound upon when writing, The Broken Half.
“Abdulaziz’ latest book is a realistic, insightful, and sometimes shocking look at the nature of domestic violence. The reader watches the development of the main character’s struggle with her abusive husband as she becomes increasingly isolated and desperate, and the far-reaching consequences for those reaching out to help her. Set in a fictitious Muslim community, the author exposes cultural issues within that community and attitudes which enable an abuser. This is an important book in educating the public about the insidious nature of domestic abuse throughout society, reflecting the author’s knowledge and experience in that field and her ability to create a powerful and suspense-filled story.”
Are you jealous of other writers?
Not at all. I think a writer’s ‘voice’ is akin to a fingerprint. Nobody shares the same DNA, and therefore what each person generously brings to the table is a unique gift. I’m just happy other writers are willing to share their work and talent, and by extension allow me to bask in their idiosyncratic world, even for a peek.
I am, however, definitely in awe of individual writers. Their extraordinary skill and innate ability to convey their thoughts using the written word is a glorious testament to the human ability to communicate.
What is the single biggest challenge you faced when writing your book?
Initially, I think my single biggest challenge resided in my personal commitment to remain steadfast to the truth. That whatever topic I chose to expound upon held merit, -enough to stay authentic to my subject matter, accurate in my portrayal, and entertainingly precise in my choice and execution of words.
What was the most important thing you learned at school?
For me, most of my learning took place outside of school. Despite having a Master of Science degree, I have acquired the majority of my knowledge through reading, spending countless hours immersed in books, in the library, talking or observing people, studying history, and dissecting opinion in search of truths.
However, the most important thing I learned from attending school is that the acquisition of knowledge in not granted equally to everyone. It was in school where I began to see how the flagrant discrepancies between socio-economic communities played a pivotal role in the success or failure of an individual. I became acutely aware of how methodically these derisive methods tore apart the dreams of many in conjunction to the fabric of our nation. This, unfortunately, continues to be the case.
Do you think there is any elitism attached to the different genres of books, both in the fiction and non-fiction worlds?
I venture to believe the dividing lines in the sand are of a different nature, in that the elitism isn’t so much between fiction and non-fiction, but connected to cultural nuances and global perspectives.
Writing by its very existence is a voice. When only certain genres are permitted access or recognisability in the global domain, then, in fact, what is happening is a vetted selection process much like media control. Freedom of speech becomes curtailed, and people and cultures are marginalized. This in turn leaves viable intellectual voices deemed by those in power disposable and in danger of becoming systematically silenced.
I have experienced first hand the struggle to make sure that my own authorship is recognized for its unique socio-cultural elements that comprise the American as well as the native-born American Muslim experience as a hybrid culture. As of yet, Muslim Fiction is not a genre, yet as a viable and talented community of writers, we are exploring many socio-pertinent venues and topics of artistic expression, but faced with an ever-imposing void.
Any attention granted to Muslim authors by the literary world tends to be characteristic of the cultural normative, or “ideal type”, which is inherently foreign. Native-born American Muslims are therefore subjected to a form of cultural erasure stemming from the refusal for people to recognize that Islam and Muslims are not exclusive to a global region or finite set of cultural identities.
WHERE CAN I FIND OUT MORE ABOUT sahar and her book?
You can find The Broken Half in Kindle or Paperback format here:
You can also catch up with Sahar on her website here: www.saharraziz.com
WHY ‘THE THURSDAY THRONG’?
These posts are called The Thursday Throng in honour of the throng that waits eagerly outside the book store when a new author is doing a book signing event or appearance. On this website it takes the form of a ‘Meet the Author‘ online event with some information about our author’s latest book and an interview. If you would like to take part in the Thursday Throng then why not visit Thursday Throng Author Interview Guidelines to find out more.