Seven

Overview

"Penetrating and subtle, Seven deftly explores loyalty in changing times... [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.

Reviews

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.

David Chariandy, award-winning author of Brother

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.

Eden Robinson, bestselling author of the Trickster trilogy

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.

Vivek Shraya, author of The Subtweet

A defiant and engrossing novel.

Sarah Schulman, author of Conflict is Not Abuse

Doctor weaves sensitivity and hope into a gripping narrative. [Seven is] a soulfully-written book about a vexed cultural issue.

Masooma Ranalvi, founder of WeSpeakOut.org

Seven is an intimate, gutsy feminist novel that exposes the lasting, individual impacts of making women’s bodies fodder for displays of religious obeisance.

Foreword Reviews

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.

Booklist

Visceral and emotional... a courageous feat.

Quill & Quire

Seven is fully feminist and ambitiously bold; this is an important book for our changing times.

Karla J. Strand, Ms. Magazine

A brave and beautiful book.

Judy Rebick, author of Heroes in My Head

Family secrets, loyalty, and betrayal lie at the heart of Seven. Delving into history can unearth deeper mysteries than one bargained for.

Zarqa Nawaz, author of Laughing All The Way to the Mosque

[An] extraordinary book... packed with discovery and jarring emotional arcs.

Toronto Star

Doctor is not afraid to address injustice cloaked as religion in a world filled with the roar of #MeToo.

Broadview Magazine

The different threads of this novel are woven powerfully and culminate in a terrifically moving story.

Pickle Me This

In generously inviting prose, Doctor deftly tackles intergenerational trauma through a distinctly feminist lens.

This Magazine

About the Author

Farzana Doctor

Posted by Kendra on December 6, 2014
Farzana Doctor photo

Farzana Doctor

Farzana Doctor is the author of Stealing Nasreen, All Inclusive, and Six Metres of Pavement, which won a Lambda Literary Award and was shortlisted for the Toronto Book Award. She lives in Toronto.