Hello, and welcome to a new post cycle called "The Westerner as Foreigner".
It depicts the POV that Easterners and post-colonialists have of Europe and Christianity, which are "foreign" to them and only known from afar, from trade, warfare, diplomacy, or all three roots. We Westerners are foreign and strange outside our lands, after all,
These are excerpts from a subversive, feminist retelling of King Lear, set in the Middle East at the close of the Roman era. Desta, the Regan character (middle child/sister/princess), marries a young Roman nobleman called Valerius, the son of a prefect, Europe being connected to her Christian Middle Eastern kingdom by trade and by religion. Notice the wording the author uses.
First of all, Desta is primarily defined by her voice as a public speaker and her devotion to religion and history (while her older sister is defined by her graceful dance and beautiful attire, and the youngest one by her brains and knowledge of countless formal languages).
The next oldest, lark-voiced Desta, offered the formal chant of greeting. At temple, the people debated if her voice or her faith made her sung words sweetest.
(Eldest sister Ayana and Desta) were fine girls, talented and lovely, and, for at least the few heartbeats that it had taken them to enter the room, properly deferential.
Their father asks them, one by one and in birth order, how much they love him, in true King Lear fashion:
(Desta and Ayana) exchanged worried glances, but said nothing.
(Desta and Ayana) clutched hands with each other, and still said nothing.
“Desta. It is your turn. What will you say?”