cover image Of Cities & Women (Letters to Fawwaz)

Of Cities & Women (Letters to Fawwaz)

Etel Adnan. Post Apollo Press, $11 (114pp) ISBN 978-0-942996-21-0

While this volume might at first be considered a welcome addition to the almost forgotten canon of published letters, it quickly disappoints. Adnan's letters begin in June 1990, purportedly focused on feminism and written for a Paris-based magazine planning a special issue on Arab women. Eventually, however, her letters become more of a travel journal as she visits London, France, southern Spain, Berlin, Frankfurt, the Greek islands, Beirut and Rome, commenting on women and other matters over a two-year period. Her observations about feminism are provincial at best: speaking of Penelope as the feminine archetype, she says that woman ``is that which waits'' and is a complement to the feminine principle in man. Strangely, Adnan provides more insight into the Gulf War than into women's issues. What little we know of Adnan ( Sitt Marie-Rose ) herself must be gleaned from the often circuitous, stream-of-consciousness letters: her childhood was spent in Beirut, she's a painter, she speaks of Paris as home, her mother was Greek. She often writes as ``we,'' but readers have no idea who her companion is. An introductory note to the book would have helped immensely. (Aug . )