A woman disappears without a trace. The police commissioner investigating the case enquires: was she of dubious morals, was she the rebellious sort? Nobody understands how a woman could simply walk away from it all, leaving husband and home behind. After all, in the ‘kingdom of oil’ where ‘His Majesty’ reigns supreme, no woman has ever dared disobey the command of men. When she finally reappears there is a blurring of the distinctions between the men in her life. She leaves one to become the wife of another, and when she eventually returns to her first husband, she finds he has taken a new wife. In many ways, to her all men are one and the same … In this rich novel El Saadawi dares anew to confront major issues and questions surrounding a woman’s role and position in a repressive, patriarchal order.