Florence of Arabia

Florence of Arabia

by Christopher Buckley
3.9 16


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Florence of Arabia by Christopher Buckley

The bestselling author who made mincemeat of political correctness in Thank You for Smoking, conspiracy theories in Little Green Men, and Presidential indiscretions No Way to Treat a First Lady now takes on the hottest topic in the entire world–Arab-American relations–in a blistering comic novel sure to offend the few it doesn’t delight.

Appalled by the punishment of her rebellious friend Nazrah, youngest and most petulant wife of Prince Bawad of Wasabia, Florence Farfarletti decides to draw a line in the sand. As Deputy to the deputy assistant secretary for Near East Affairs, Florence invents a far-reaching, wide-ranging plan for female emancipation in that part of the world.

The U.S. government, of course, tells her to forget it. Publicly, that is. Privately, she’s enlisted in a top-secret mission to impose equal rights for the sexes on the small emirate of Matar (pronounced “Mutter”), the “Switzerland of the Persian Gulf.” Her crack team: a CIA killer, a snappy PR man, and a brilliant but frustrated gay bureaucrat. Her weapon: TV shows.

The lineup on TV Matar includes A Thousand and One Mornings, a daytime talk show that features self-defense tips to be used against boyfriends during Ramadan; an addictive soap opera featuring strangely familiar members of the Matar royal family; and a sitcom about an inept but ruthless squad of religious police, pitched as “Friends from Hell.”

The result: the first deadly car bombs in the country since 1936, a fatwa against the station’s entire staff, a struggle for control of the kingdom, and, of course, interference from the French. And that’s only the beginning.

A merciless dismantling of both American ineptitude and Arabic intolerance, Florence of Arabia is Christopher Buckley’s funniest and most serious novel yet, a biting satire of how U.S. good intentions can cause the Shiite to hit the fan.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780812972269
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/13/2005
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 667,822
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Christopher Buckley is a novelist, essayist, humorist, critic, magazine editor, and memoirist. His books have been translated into sixteen foreign languages. He worked as a merchant seaman and White House speechwriter. He has written for many newspapers and magazines and has lectured in more than seventy cities around the world. He was awarded the Thurber Prize for American Humor and the Washington Irving Medal for Literary Excellence.

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Florence of Arabia 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'Florence of Arabia' is really a serious book. It's written as a farce and has its hilarious moments. The pages dealing with the colonic difficulties of Shem the Royal Camel had me laughing out loud. But there is nothing funny about stoning and beating women to death. Imprisoning a woman in a cell with the corpse of her 'supposed' dead lover isn't amusing either. The entire plot is grim and frightening. I read a short biography of Fern Holland on whose tragic life and death this book is loosely based. Buckley's intention is to bring the ineptitude of the United States, the greed of the French, and the entire Middle Eastern medieval mentality to our attention and keep us amused in the process. And I WAS amused, but I didn't like it that I was. If you can follow that. 'Florence' is worth the reading.
bookworm1228 More than 1 year ago
In many ways, I think Florence of Arabia has some interesting things to say about the relationship between the United States and the Middle East. I admire Christopher Buckley for being brave enough to laugh at both sides pretty mercilessly, as well as for creating a number of likeable and human characters (as well as some distinctly less likeable ones). At the same time, there were points in the book that were a bit shallow. For example, I'm not sure exactly why every female main character had to be ravishingly beautiful. It seemed like they had enough going for them without constantly commenting on their gorgeous looks. There were also moments where the plot took some pretty fantastical turns. I'm still trying to decide if this was necessary for the book to stay slightly light-hearted (the subject matter gets pretty hefty by the middle) or if it was a bit much. Overall though, the book was definitely not a waste of my time, and I would probably recommend it to people who are not overly invested in the Middle East conflicts and don't get offended easily.
nvata2d More than 1 year ago
Christopher Buckley fans will not be disappointed with this funny take on changing paradigms in fictional middle eastern countries. Not only is this book relevant to the customs of (most) Middle East locales I've visited but the ideas Buckley visits on how the United States wants/tries to sabotage their ideals and way of thinking is downright hilarious! This book is funny and amazingly action-packed. If you like Christopher Buckley, Florence of Arabia is a must-read!
rnbeckytNYC More than 1 year ago
I adore Christopher Buckley's books. Florence of Arabia is his best; a side-splitting, laugh-out-loud book about a US plot to subvert a Middle Eastern regime using an Oprah-like TV personality.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Saudis, the UN, and even the publishers of the DaVinci Code are fair game in this story about an American female who starts a 'TV for women' in the middle east. I know of no author writing funnier political satire with the same wit and edge as Buckley.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a big fan of his other work...but it seems as if he wrote this book too quickly and tried to make it as ridiculous as possible...its silly and simple...unlike most of his other work...I really can't recommend it...