Desire and suffering

Nine Parts of Desire

Australian-American journalist and author Geraldine Brooks wrote Nine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic Women after spending two years as a Middle East news correspondent. The book deals with the area's cultural and religious practices, particularly those related to the oppression of women, and traces the origins of these practices all the way back to Mohammed's time.

The title is taken from the Islamic belief that "God created sexual desire in 10 parts, and then gave nine parts to women," and this belief is examined and explored in Iraqi-American playwright Heather Raffo's one-woman show, Nine Parts of Desire, starring Julie Rowe. Raffo's depiction of the lives of a cross-section of Iraqi women has been called a poetic statement about the nature of suffering by The New York Times; The Wall Street Journal wrote that it's "persuasive precisely because it is beautiful;" and The New Yorker went so far as to declare Nine Parts "A triumph ... an example of how art can remake the world." Find out what all the fuss is about beginning this Thursday night.

9 Parts of Desire, March 8-18, 8 p.m. Thurs.-Sat., 4 p.m. Sun., Shimberg Playhouse-Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, 1010 N. MacInnes Place, downtown Tampa, $18.50, 813-229-7827,

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