Ibrahim, a youngster from a rich Saudi family in Riyadh goes out to the restaurant with his mother and sisters, and comes out shell-shocked. He has seen his father take a young woman to a ‘family cabin’. The immediate inference (and it turns out to be the right one) is that his father has married again.
‘As there is no cousin and no other relative of this age, my Mom and sisters soon realized that our father has got a second wife, keeping us in the dark. We all fell in deep sorrow. My Mom stood still as blood had dried up in her veins'( p. 18).
Ibrahim observes his mother in her agony, and even hears her cry of anguish to the maid-cum-companion: why, why did her husband have to do this when, apart from raising four children, she had kept herself slim and attractive, going to the extent of putting Hina on her private parts (p. 24)!
Why indeed. When she puts her question to her husband, he simply says: ‘See this happens. The Shariah has permitted it’.