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Publishers WeeklyWinner of the 2009 Drue Heinz Literature Prize, this book is a loosely connected collection of short stories portraying the monotonous, isolated lives of American expats and Saudis living in small, isolated Saudi Arabian communities. Sanow, an American who moved to Saudi Arabi in her late teens, reflects on her experiences through the circumstances and emotions of many of her characters. In "Pioneer," a lonely little boy spends hours watching each creature that passes, attempting to amuse himself without toys or playmates; meanwhile, his frustrated mother slowly grows weary of their monotonous, lonely life and begins to crack. Ghusun and Thurayya, the two young Saudi girls in "Slow Stately Dance in Triple Time," must remain confined to their home, as per their eldest brother's command; secretly peering into the outside world, they witness as much as they can, but they know the life of inequity that awaits them, shaped by ritual and tradition as much as their desert surroundings. The remaining five stories detail the same sense of isolation through a range of intriguing characters.
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