An exceedingly reasonable proposal for reforming Muslim marriage.

THE LEAP

Rida believes that he has found a sensible, lawful way to help solve the problem of divorce in Muslim cultures.

When Rida was a child, his Muslim parents fought relentlessly. Their battles were cruel and acrimonious. The author grew and eventually attended a university in the United States, where he lived with an elderly American couple, the Moores, whose marriage seemed the exact opposite of his parents’ rocky union. The difference between the Moores and his parents, Rida decided, was that the Moores had a chance to get acquainted before they chose to marry. By contrast, the Ridas were matched by their parents—poorly. Trapped in a dysfunctional relationship, they were forced either to suffer in silence or undergo the shame of divorce. But all this pain could have been avoided, had they the chance to meet and get to know each other first—to court. But there was and is a problem: Muslim tradition does not allow single men and women to meet and interact; as one hadith reads: “No man and a woman get together without Satan becoming the third.” What are couples to do? How can potential partners get acquainted without trampling on Islam? Rida believes that he has an answer, and this book is his effort to incorporate a lawful courtship period into the Muslim marriage. His solution is based on the Shia Muslim institution of mut’ah—a temporary marriage contract. In basic terms, the book establishes a set time during which future husbands and wives can get to know one another—and to discover if they are indeed compatible. Rida writes to his coreligionists; he claims that his main audience is made up of believers in non-Muslim countries, and he makes a good-faith effort at addressing the concerns of the devout. He scrupulously cites passages from the Quran and other Muslim scripture to prove that “the leap” is lawful. But his prose is smooth and conversational; he anticipates objections and explains difficult points thoroughly and confidently.

An exceedingly reasonable proposal for reforming Muslim marriage.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 978-1425908195

Page Count: 322

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2010

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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THE MYTH OF SISYPHUS

AND OTHER ESSAYS

This a book of earlier, philosophical essays concerned with the essential "absurdity" of life and the concept that- to overcome the strong tendency to suicide in every thoughtful man-one must accept life on its own terms with its values of revolt, liberty and passion. A dreary thesis- derived from and distorting the beliefs of the founders of existentialism, Jaspers, Heldegger and Kierkegaard, etc., the point of view seems peculiarly outmoded. It is based on the experience of war and the resistance, liberally laced with Andre Gide's excessive intellectualism. The younger existentialists such as Sartre and Camus, with their gift for the terse novel or intense drama, seem to have omitted from their philosophy all the deep religiosity which permeates the work of the great existentialist thinkers. This contributes to a basic lack of vitality in themselves, in these essays, and ten years after the war Camus seems unaware that the life force has healed old wounds... Largely for avant garde aesthetes and his special coterie.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1955

ISBN: 0679733736

Page Count: 228

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1955

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