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When Sharifa and her husband travel to India, she expects her time will be spent researching her great-great grandfather, a…wealthy businessman and philanthropist. However, what she doesn't expect is to be swept up in the story of his four wives, oddly excluded from her family history. As Sharifa's imagination is overtaken with these four women, she finds herself in the middle of another female-centered conflict–a conservative, religious ritual that has been going on for centuries. Khatna, or the act of female genital cutting, may be an age-old tradition, but women in India are now taking opposite sides, including Sharifa's two favourite cousins. As she tries to find a middle ground, Sharifa's research excavates an unexpected truth, one that will force her to take a position in this rich novel about resistance and finding your way between cultural traditions and modern values
"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.