City of Veils: A Novelby Zoë Ferraris
A riveting literary mystery that reveals the shrouded world of women in modern-day Saudi Arabia, from prizewinning author Zoe Ferraris.See more details below
A riveting literary mystery that reveals the shrouded world of women in modern-day Saudi Arabia, from prizewinning author Zoe Ferraris.
The stifling constraints placed on Saudi women form the grim backdrop for a second mystery from Ferraris (Finding Nouf, 2008).
A mutilated female corpse washes up on a beach near Jeddah. American Miriam Walker reluctantly returns to the city to rejoin husband Eric, whose disappearance later that night proves to be related to the murder. Assigned to the case is Detective Inspector Osama Ibrahim, a relatively enlightened Muslim. He is supportive of the women the Jeddah police department has reluctantly admitted to its ranks to interview female witnesses, since even police officers cannot be alone with an unrelated member of the opposite sex. When his associate Faiza is fired because she lied about being married (a prerequisite for employment), he's willing to work with Katya, the medical examiner whose warming relationship with strict traditionalist Nayir was a central element in Finding Nouf. Katya (who's also pretending to be married) brings Nayir into the case on the flimsy pretext that his knowledge of the Quran will help as she looks for the man who hired the victim, Leila Nawar, to photograph ancient Islamic manuscripts. Leila's primary interest, however, was in filming hot-button sexual and religious material, a project in which Eric may have abetted her—and that guy sitting next to Miriam on her return flight probably had something to do with it too. The tangled mystery is of less interest than the stinging depiction of routine indignities inflicted on Saudi women, many involving the burqa they must wear to cover their faces; if they raise the veil to eat or see where they're going, they face the hostility of men who believe an uncovered woman is an abomination. Nayir, more or less of that opinion himself, struggles to adapt his beliefs to encompass his growing love for Katya, while Osama grapples with the discovery that his adored wife is taking birth-control pills. Ferraris avoids demonizing all Saudi men, while unambiguously rejecting their society's ingrained misogyny.
No final resolutions here, except to the less-than-gripping murder case, but a vividly detailed portrait of a modern land mired in medieval attitudes.
"Zoë Ferraris delivers the Muslim The Da Vinci Code. It kept me up at night. I loved it!"
"Ferraris shows how the clash of tradition and desire, especially for women, is fraught with danger both hidden and overt... She open[s] Saudi Arabia for mystery fans to reveal the true minds and hearts of its denizens."
Zoë Ferraris delivers the Muslim The Da Vinci Code. It kept me up at night. I loved it!"Ranya Idliby, co-author of The Faith Club"
A gripping, many times disturbing, story of murder and the search for justice in an ancient society at odds with a woman's fight for independence."Kathleen Kent, author of The Heretic's Daughter"
An intense and thoughtful thriller."Kate Furnivall, author of The Girl from Junchow"
Superb.... Ferraris is one of the most important new voices in crime fiction."Michael Koryta, author of So Cold the River"
Lifts the veil on Saudi Arabia.... Ferraris weaves an engrossing, taut tale."Cara Black, author of Murder in the Latin Quarter"
A fascinating, insightful, and remarkably balanced look inside a society unfamiliar to most readers."Jenny White, author of The Winter Thief"
Exhilarating. Ferraris masterfully captures the nuances of the Saudi culture and its women, while brilliantly exposing the conflict between tradition and desire."Mahbod Seraji, author of Rooftops of Tehran"
A marvelous book. Ferraris demonstrates the instinctive authority of both an elegant stylist and a born storyteller."David Corbett, author of Do They Know I'm Running?"
Taut and intelligent, set against a troubling backdrop of brutality, oppression and searing desert heat."Anne Zouroudi, author of The Messenger of Athens
PRAISE FOR FINDING NOUF:"
Ferraris shows how the clash of tradition and desire, especially for women, is fraught with danger both hidden and overt... She open[s] Saudi Arabia for mystery fans to reveal the true minds and hearts of its denizens."Los Angeles Times"
Remarkable...Its mystery takes place within a culture that has itself largely been under wraps...It's the individual journeys of Nayir and Katya, who abide by their society's strictures even as they are frustrated by them, that elevate Finding Nouf to a larger human drama."Entertainment Weekly
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