AN INDIGO BEST BOOK OF 2020
A GLOBE AND MAIL BEST INDEPENDENT READ FOR FALL 2020
"Be prepared for this novel to stay with you for a long time, especially its ending."—GLOBE AND MAIL
"[An] extraordinary book... packed with discovery and jarring emotional arcs."—TORONTO STAR
"Penetrating and subtle ... [An] immersive, absorbing portrait."—EDEN ROBINSON
"Explores with courage and storytelling finesse the harsh truths within the ideals of kinship and community." —DAVID CHARIANDY
"An urgent and passionate read." —VIVEK SHRAYA
"Visceral and emotional... a courageous feat."—QUILL & QUIRE (starred review)
A brave, soulfully written feminist novel about inheritance and resistance that tests the balance between kinship and the fight against customs that harm us.
When Sharifa accompanies her husband on a marriage-saving trip to India in 2016, she thinks that she’s going to research her great-great-grandfather, a wealthy business leader and philanthropist. What captures her imagination is not his rags-to-riches story, but the mystery of his four wives, missing from the family lore. She ends up excavating much more than she had imagined.
Sharifa’s trip coincides with a time of unrest within her insular and conservative religious community, and there is no escaping its politics. A group of feminists is speaking out against khatna, an age-old ritual they insist is female genital cutting. Sharifa’s two favourite cousins are on opposite sides of the debate and she seeks a middle ground. As the issue heats up, Sharifa discovers an unexpected truth and is forced to take a position.
Farzana Doctor is the author of Stealing Nasreen, All Inclusive, and Six Metres of Pavement, which won a Lambda Literary Award and was short-listed for the Toronto Book Award. She lives in Toronto.
Farzana Doctor is a writer of extraordinary wit, generosity, and ethical commitment; and Seven explores with courage and storytelling finesse the harsh truths within the ideals of kinship and community.
Be prepared for this novel to stay with you for a long time, especially its ending.
In generously inviting prose, Doctor deftly tackles intergenerational trauma through a distinctly feminist lens.
Doctor is not afraid to address injustice cloaked as religion in a world filled with the roar of #MeToo.
A brave and beautiful book.
Seven presents a messy situation and Doctor skillfully curates the disarray into a rewarding and consistently engaging read.
Doctor weaves sensitivity and hope into a gripping narrative. [Seven is] a soulfully-written book about a vexed cultural issue.
Doctor’s writing is clean and readable, and by the novel’s end, she has layered all the elements together in a meaningful way. Her novel’s willingness to engage readers with this challenging, important subject matter is invaluable.
A defiant and engrossing novel.
Family secrets, loyalty, and betrayal lie at the heart of Seven. Delving into history can unearth deeper mysteries than one bargained for.
Penetrating and subtle, Seven deftly explores loyalty in changing times, what it means and what you give up to be a part of a community, a marriage, and friendships. Sharifa is a sympathetic everywoman; her relationships fully realized and deeply felt in this immersive, absorbing portrait.
The different threads of this novel are woven powerfully and culminate in a terrifically moving story.
[An] extraordinary book... packed with discovery and jarring emotional arcs.
Visceral and emotional... a courageous feat.
In her grand tradition, Farzana Doctor once again pushes us forward with nuanced, layered, inter-generational prose, to bring visibility to an important social issue. An urgent and passionate read.
Seven is an intimate, gutsy feminist novel that exposes the lasting, individual impacts of making women’s bodies fodder for displays of religious obeisance.
Seven is fully feminist and ambitiously bold; this is an important book for our changing times.