“Will be read in a single sitting and not soon forgotten. This is a new kind of literature, one that offers the reader not the virtual fruits of an imaginative mind, but stillwarm flesh pared from the author’s own bones.” Tatiana Nabatnikova, coordinator of the National Bestseller literary prize
The Dancer from Khiva
One Muslim Woman's Quest for Freedom
978-0-8021-7050-7 • $14.00 • Paperback • Aug. 2008
When it was published in St. Petersburg, The Dancer from Khiva was hailed by Russia’s Weekly Journal as “not only a literary text, but a document of human life, one with a rare power to move.” An unflinchingly honest memoir, this true story offers remarkable insights into Central Asian culture through the harrowing experiences of a young girl.
In a narrative that flows like a late-night confession, Bibish recounts her story. Born to an impoverished family in a deeply religious village in Uzbekistan, Bibish was named “Hadjarbibi” in honor of her grandfather’s hadj, or pilgrimage to Mecca. But the holy name did not protect her from being gang-raped at the age of eight and left for dead in the desert. Bibish’s tenacity helped her survive, but in the coming years, that same tough-spiritedness caused her to be beaten, victimized, and ostracized from her family and community. Despite the seeming hopelessness of being a woman in such a cruelly patriarchal society, Bibish secretly cultivated her own dreamsof dancing, of raising a family, and of telling her story to the world.
The product of incredible resilience and spirit, The Dancer from Khiva is a harrowing, clear-eyed dispatch from a land where thousands of such stories have been silenced. It is a testament to Bibish’s fierce will and courage: the searing, fast-paced tale of a woman who risked everything