Glimpses from Fabulous Veils#1

I was moved by a burning desire. The desire to change. The desire to reveal. The desire to shake.

Many people wondered how I made it. How did I succeed to write for an hour on daily basis at 5:00 am in the morning, regardless of the weather and the circumstances. How did I persist and defeated all the challenged I faced until I had my novel ‘Fabulous Veils’ published?

The desires. I desired to change the rotten culture. I desired to reveal the brainwashing under the veils; the veils of religion, traditions and love. I desired to shake our misconceptions, limiting beliefs and thinking patterns.

My desire was for the families. Some people mistaken me for a feminist, while I’m not. My calling is for the community and its smallest unit; the family. ‘Fabulous Veils’ is a call for change, for actions. From all sides. A change from the men’s perspective about their wives and their roles towards their families. A change from the women’s perspective about romance, marriage, parenthood and spirituality. A change from the perspective of youth about rights, freedom, civilisation and open mindedness.

Dedicating my Mondays Arabic articles in November for the Teenagers, I decided to share some glimpses from ‘Fabulous Veils’ on weekly basis. Sharing scenes in which Teenagers were involved. Whether as a main or side character. I will not comment on the scene. Comments are open for the readers. I will just open a window to my perception.

The window this time is: 

Our children do and will do mistakes. In such cases, what difference will it make if we pause before reacting, then become proactive by dealing with the reason of the behaviour instead of the behaviour itself?

Leaving you with the Glimpse…

“Your daughter has a boyfriend ya Hanim wenty nayma ala wedanek,” Sherif had screamed back then. 

“What? What are you saying?” 

“What are you doing as a mother? You know nothing about your daughter?”

“Who said so?”

“I’m telling you. Your daughter is indecorous!”

“I can’t understand what you’re saying, stop shouting.”

“Stop shouting? Is it all that matters to you?”

“I can’t hear you. Calm down and explain.”

“Explain what? I’m telling you your daughter has a boyfriend. My mother saw her in a car with a boy last night.”

“And who said he’s a boyfriend. Maybe he’s a schoolmate.”

“Schoolmate driving a car? You want me to lose my mind?”

“Maybe it’s the brother of one of her friends.”

“And why was she riding with him in the car alone? And since when is she allowed to ride cars with her friends’ brothers? And where was the damn driver?”

Gameela started to sweat. 

“What was she doing last night in that car, with whom and where was the driver?”

Gameela remained silent, trying to put the words in an order that would put her into tolerable troubles.


#FabulousVeilsNovel#Book Review

كم من التفاصيل الصغيره اللي عمرها مابتتحكي.

واكنك بتقرأ سيناريو ومتخيل الناس وتحركاتهم وصوتهم وشايف الوان هدومهم وتفاصيل ملامحهم.

انا متشوقه ومنبهره من ادق التفاصيل اللي بتتقال في المخ وعمرها مابتطلع.

واكن اللي بيتقال جوه علي الساكت سامعينه.

روايه بتحكي الصمت.

بتحكي الحوار الداخلي اللي بيحصل بين الناس واكنه بصوت.

حطاني في حاله من الفضول والتشوق

معيشاني جوه دماغ الناس

#FabulousVeilsNovel#Book Review

من صغري وأنا بحب القراءة. قريت روايات كتير. ولكن لازم أعترف إن رواية Fabulous Veils من الروايات المميزة جدا، مش بس عشان أعرف الكاتبة شخصيا وأثرت في ومازالت تؤثر في وفي ناس كتير حوليها.. ولكن عشان الرواية بتعبر عن اللي جوانا. الرواية بإختصار قالت اللي إحنا مش عارفين نقوله، وبتخاطب كل سيدة وبنت من كل مستوى إجتماعي وكل الأعمار.

إيمان رفعت نجحت إنها تخلينا نبص على نفسنا وعلى مجتمعنا في المرايا.. دخلتنا بأسلوبها الجميل والسلس لأعماق أنفسنا. أظهرت لنا دور وأهمية المرأة اللي كنا قربنا ننساه أو بنحاول نتناساه. ظلم وقهر المرأة ليس بأمر هين، والرواية دي مكتوبة لعل المجتمع يفوق ويدرك قيمة المرأة. ورسالة إلى كل سيدة وبنت في هذا المجتمع.. دوري على حلمك، أسعي أنك تحققيه، متخليش حاجة توقفك، أوعي تسكتي عن الظلم والقمع اللي بتتعرضيله، قولي لأ لأي شخص عايز يقتل طموحك وأحلامك! الجيل الجديد هو الأمل الحقيقي لصلاح هذا المجتمع!

ناس كتير من اللي قرت الرواية قالوا إن كل سيدة في مصر لازم تقرأ الرواية دي.. أنا شايفة إن الرواية دي لكل سيدة وكل ورجل و ليس فقط في المجتمع المصري بل في المجتمعات الأخرى أيضا!

ورغم إن الرواية بتحكي ٣ قصص عن ٣ سيدات من مستوى إجتماعى مخلتف، إلا إن الكاتبة المتمكنة نجحت في إعطاء صورة واضحة بتفاصيل دقيقة، كأننا فعلا عايشين مع الشخصيات دي وعاشرناهم سنين طويلة وأثبتت إن الظلم ممكن يقع على أي مرأة من أي مستوى إجتماعي.

غير إن حبكة الرواية متقنة وبشدة، لازم نثني على أسلوب الكتابة. إيمان رفعت نجحت تاني إني أتفاعل مع كل الشخصيات وأبقى مشتاقة أخلص الرواية عشان أعرف الأحداث في أقصى سرعة.. الكاتبة المتمكنة فقط هي اللي تعرف تشدك للرواية!

المزيج من اللغة الإنجليزية والعربية وأيضا الفرنسية كانت من الحاجات اللي فاجئني وأنا بقرأ الرواية. حسيت إني بقرأ رواية لكاتبة مصرية مثقفة ومبدعة  وكنت فخورة جدا بكده.

أنا شخصيا هتسنى Fabulous Veils 2.. بس مش عشان تناقش مشاكل المجتمع وظلم المرأة، ولكن عشان تناقش حال السيدات والرجال اللي قرأوا رواية Fabulous Veils وقرروا إنهم يطبقوها ويعملوا بيها

رواية مصرية، كاتبة بارعة.. ومش أول مرة أقولها Chapeau بس حقيقي المرة دي غير كل مرة. أحسنت ❤

#FabulousVeilsNovel#Book Review

“I am so grateful for having had the opportunity to read such a fabulous work. Though initially interested in the story for discussion at a monthly book club meeting (shout-out to Rose’s Cairo Book Club!), I’ll admit I couldn’t put the book down since I bought it. Iman Refaat did an amazing job in storytelling, really, with her very captivating descriptions of what would seem mundane details, but they really did add to the stories of these women from diverse situations, allowing me as a reader to feel tremendous empathy for their situations, and be curious about what would happen next in their seemingly tragic lives.”


#FabulousVeilsNovel#Book Review

“I honestly feel like no review I could ever write would do this book justice. It’s a beautifully written novel that deserves to be read and re-read. It’s enlightening and hopeful even through all the gritty, heart-wrenching, almost physically painful emotional rawness of it.

I felt inspired by the wonderfully brave characters, and I learnt A LOT from their life experiences.

And I felt that basically the message in this novel is: ‘It doesn’t matter what happens to us, we will rise above it if we have the awareness about who we are and what we are capable of.’

Iman used simple words to narrate a simple, straightforward messages to women and she did it brilliantly. It is a beautiful novel of hardship and hope. Hope triumphs. As it should.

Iman, you’re our KHALID El Hosseini female version.”


#FabulousVeilsNovel#Book Review

“Fabulous Veils nous invite à réfléchir sur les rapports entre les hommes et les femmes en Egypte. A travers des récits de vies de trois femmes issues de différentes classes sociales qui partagent tour à tour leurs angoisses, leurs rêves et leur quotidien. L’auteur nous interpelle et nous incite à faire un bilan sur notre vie et à nous poser des questions sur notre rôle en tant que femmes et notre place au sein de la famille voire même au sein de la société.

A travers la voix de ces femmes et dans un style simple mais captivant ce sont des visions différentes du même sujet qui sont abordées avec délicatesse et pudeur.

Fabulous Veils éveille en nous toute une foule d’émotions qui se manifestent au fil émotions ressenties par les personnages; tantôt de la colère, tantôt de la joie, tantôt de l’inquiétude …

Je recommande vivement ce livre pour toute personne qui rêve d’un avenir où la liberté de penser, de parler, d’aimer et de vivre tout simplement est le seul mot d’ordre.”


#FabulousVeilsNovel#Book Review

“We each live wearing a certain mask or another. We smile when we don’t really have a reason to. We try to pretend that we are doing well even if we are not. We do so in an effort to abide by traditional and social norms that dictate that we must not appear weak. We must not share our problems.

Iman Refaat takes us on a journey that is too close to home. Raising a mirror to our masks and exposing them. In many ways, this novel exposes female oppression, however, it also exposes that Egyptian men are as subjected to tradition and social oppression as are women. Iman shows that families tend to oppress both male and female children and put them through very rigid circumstances that they both grow to become oppressors themselves.

Iman writes with such passion and talent, giving very unique and creative voices to her characters, whom the reader tends to feel for, fall in love with, and more often than not, get so angry with their behavior.”


#FabulousVeilsNovel#Book Review

“Fabulous Veils is a stop sign against all female oppression. It is an alarm to think of the actions we do to our female surrounding imaging that we are protecting them, while we might be banning them from having a better chance in life.
I got involved with the three main different female characters from the very beginning. What was really shocking that women were more accused to show oppression and discrimination against each other more severally than men do.”


Ramadan Poisonous Intake

“You’re not allowed to watch it until I do first and approve it,” my mother used to tell my sisters and me. With her strict character and high standards we knew that we would rarely watch a movie on the new video machine she had bought.  We lowered our expectations, accepted our fate and surrendered to watching only series and movies aired on the formal Egyptian television channels.

Getting married in my early twenties, I moved to my marital house and I had no one to supervise me. I spent hours on daily basis watching private television channels and revenging my years of deprivation. Insults, vulgar language and violent scenes shocked me. Little by little I became selective and followed actors who were known to add value and promote for good ethics. The more my professional and personal responsibilities increased the less time I had to watch TV. I committed to watch one episode during the month of Ramadan until I had a breakthrough. 

Writing my own novel ‘Fabulous Veils’  made me consider series and movies from a whole new perspective. I understood how Writers carefully select their words and creatively build their scenes to deliver certain messages and instil certain beliefs. I became more attentive while watching Drama and made sure to reflect on what I watched and reject what didn’t match my value system or my code of ethics. 

Few months after publishing my novel I started studying to become a Life Coach. Learning about NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming), the language of the mind and the power of subconscious I had an OMG moment. I started reexamine my thoughts, ideas, opinions and beliefs. And sadly I discovered how, in may cases, Drama played a fundamental role in distorting them. 

“I’m following six different series this Ramadan,” my cousin declared last week. Her words left me bitter, understanding how, unconsciously, her mind and beliefs will be poisoned and how her personal and professional life might be affected with the cheap drama aired on countless channels in a condensed dosage during the ‘holy’ month of Ramadan.

Long live my mother who made sure to supervise what her daughters would watch and who made sure herself to watch what would develop her mind as a wife, a mother and most of all a human being and a role model.

If we became addicts to worthless drama, at least let us be intellectual viewers who reflect on what’s presented and who would make a quality control first on what to welcome in our conscious and subconscious minds.

Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will one day become a reality.” – Earl Nightingale