Hijabistan by Sabyn Javeri is a collection of short stories that explores the lives of women. The second book from the author of Nobody Killed Her is a microscopic view on the lives of women crushed under the heaviness of the veil. Hijabistan tries to breaks the preconceived notion surrounding Muslim women, especially those wearing a ‘hijab’.
If Nobody Killed Her, dealt with women in power, Hijabistan, includes short stories about regular women, those who are powerful than those born with power and privilege. They are capable of empowering themselves and should be seen as survivors and not victims even when they seem to be weighed down under the heaviness of the veil.
Sabyn Javeri gives nuances of the life of women whom we can relate to. They break the false dichotomy of the notion that those under the veil are victims. The stories run us through the spectrum portraying women in shades of grey as well. May it be the young kleptomaniac who infuses thrill into her suffocating life by using her abaya to steal lipsticks and flash men, the office worker feels empowered through sex, or the British-Asian Muslim girl who finds herself drawn to the jihad in Syria. For all, the hijab constricts as it liberates. Here, the ‘hijab’ fits in different perspectives of the stories told. Of restrictions, desires, identity, and assertion it is also about women who feel sheltered by it.