Customer Reviews for

The Sand Cafe: A Novel

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2006

    engrossing, topical, stylish and very funny

    This is a great novel - engrossing, topical, stylish and very funny. With this it also manages to reveal a great deal about how the press shapes and limits our understanding of war and of the Middle East/Islam. The educational side - usually coveyed in hilarious anecdotes - all mesh, and I came away exhilerated. It is also incredibly relevant to the current Iraq war and illuminates the failure of communication and understanding between the US and the Arab world. This important novel should be very, very widely read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2006

    Becoming a Journalist or Dating One

    This book should be mandatory reading for anyone who wants to become a journalist or date one. Imagine M.A.S.H. meets Sex in the City with a little Jon Stewart thrown into the mix. A crowd of mostly youthful, virulent, edgy thirty-somethings with fire in their bellies as well as their loins are stuck for seven months in a 190-room Saudi hotel desperately looking for the next big scoop and a little warmth, with very limited supplies of either available. They lie, they cheat, they broadcast the most intimate details of their sex lives with colleagues, they literally hit each other, and somehow they still manage to broadcast the news. The relatively small number of excellent journalists heroically stand up to a bewildering gauntlet of obstacles from cut throat colleagues to a dominating Pentagon, which tries to assert complete control over what the American public is allowed to learn about the Gulf War. The writing in The Sand Café is terrific, insightful and hilariously funny. I read every chance I got. There¿s a lot to learn from this tour guide about how the media actually covers a war or fails miserably in the attempt through laziness and incompetence. Aside from getting an appalling sense of how the news is made, I also learned much about the military, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Arab attitudes towards one another and the West, about fanatics and why they are tolerated, about Osama bin Laden and other terrorists, not to mention a bit of history. All in all it¿s a great orientation to an ever-important region. I loved reading it, and so will you.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 23, 2010


    This is a very well written book with great insight about Saudi Arabia and the international press corps in the run-up to the Gulf War of 1991 [and probably any war thereafter]

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  • Posted August 6, 2009

    What A Snoozer....

    This is a boring story of boring people doing boring things. After about 15 pages I wanted to put the book down, but kept at it thinking it would get better, but it never did. Nothing ever happens, it's just the day to day tedium of a reporter waiting for something to happen. I must have read the whole thing out of some perverted sense of patriotism since it's about the 1st Gulf War, but I sure wish I'd put it down at the 15 page stage.

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