Skip to Main Content (Press Enter) Toggle side nav

The Occasional Virgin

Best Seller
The Occasional Virgin by Hanan al-Shaykh
Paperback $17.00
Jun 18, 2019 | ISBN 9780525563044

Also available from:

See All Formats (2) +
  • Jun 18, 2019 | ISBN 9780525563044

    Also available from:

  • Jul 10, 2018 | ISBN 9781524747527

    Available from:

Buy the Audiobook Download:

Listen to a sample from The Occasional Virgin

Product Details


“Brilliant! The Occasional Virgin is a modern Jane Austen comedy—wise, witty, and unexpectedly profound. I loved it.” —Alberto Manguel

“A refreshing, thought-provoking look at the weight of history on the lives we build for ourselves. . . . Al-Shaykh’s prose invites readers into the vivid imagery of [her two protagonists’] minds as they grapple with religion, family, relationships, and their own identities; both are complex, fully realized characters.”—Booklist
“Irony and iconoclasm are the orders of the day in al-Shaykh’s bittersweet tale of friendship and disillusionment. . . . Al-Shaykh, who has drawn both admiration and condemnation in her native Lebanon for frank depictions of women’s sexuality and criticism of women’s powerlessness in traditional social structures, continues to grapple with these issues in ways both farcical and profound. It’s the small moments—of both absurdity and genuine pathos—that will remain with readers, as Yvonne and Huda struggle to reconcile where they came from with who they’ve become.”—Publishers Weekly
“Novelist and memoirist al-Shaykh delivers an elegant story of a friendship that is anything but easy. . . . [The] novel is full of quiet regrets as it speaks gracefully to the challenges of friendship, challenges that threaten to drive the two women apart but that, in the end, instead strengthen their bond. Another winning book by one of the most distinguished Arabic-language writers at work today.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Lebanese-born, Cairo-educated, and London-based, al-Shaykh writes piercingly about Middle East upheaval and especially women in the Arab-Muslim world. Somewhere along the French Riviera, two young women from Beirut—Muslim-raised Huda and Christian-raised Yvonne—reflect on their tumultuous lives and struggles with work and love.” —Library Journal

Be the first to know!
More from Hanan al-Shaykh and book picks sent right to your inbox
More from Hanan al-Shaykh and book picks sent right to your inbox
By clicking SIGN UP, I acknowledge that I have read and agree to Penguin Random House’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.
Something awesome is on its way.
Back to Top