Distant View of a Minaret is a collection of fifteen short stories that give readers a glimpse of what it means to be a woman in an Orthodox Muslim society in Egypt. The stories are not interconnected, but together they form a vivid portrayal of Rifaat’s world.
Arrows of Rain is a fascinating satirical allegory that reveals in gory details the terrible effect of military rule in a country named Madia in the novel, but which is, in fact, a thinly disguised Nigeria. The book opens in captivating fashion with the story of the dead body of a woman sprawled on the sandy shores of B. Beach on New Year Day. The police arrive but do a terribly patched-up work under the guise of investigation. The only person who can give a credible eyewitness account is a maverick vagrant named Bukuru; he is a highly educated former journalist, but presumed mentally unstable. As he reveals that soldiers caused the unknown woman’s death and discloses that a highly decorated Army officer has done unspeakable violence to women, the police begin to hatch a cover-up, discounting Bukuru’s account – and accusing him of multiple homicides.