The Sand Fish

The Sand Fish

by Maha Gargash


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061744679
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/20/2009
Pages: 361
Sales rank: 483,531
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Maha Gargash, an Emirati born in Dubai to a prominent business family, has studied in Washington, D.C., and London. With her degree in radio/television, she joined Dubai Television to pursue her interest in documentaries. Through directing her television programs, which deal mainly with traditional Arab societies, she became involved in research and scriptwriting. Her first novel, The Sand Fish, was an international bestseller. 

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The Sand Fish 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
DeltaQueen50 on LibraryThing 28 days ago
The Sand Fish by Maha Gargash was an eagerly anticipated read as I was excited to be reading a book about the United Arab Emirates written by an Emirati. This story is set in the 1950¿s, before the discovery of oil and the massive development that followed, and tells the story of Noora, a poor mountain raised girl who is basically sold into marriage to a rich, older man as his third wife. Her main purpose to this man is to bear a child, preferably male.I was interested in the day to day life details and the interaction between the sister-wives. The power rested firmly in the hands of the first wife and she was also eager for a baby to be delivered to the family. The baby competition was between the second and third wives, as whomever managed to deliver would have an easier life overall. How this situation was resolved was the main focus of the story.What I really liked about this book is that Noora is true to her culture. She wears the burka proudly and accepts her fate, although not happily, but with the acceptance born of generations of bowing to men¿s authority. She does not question being the third wife, or even the possession of a slave.I found The Sand Fish to be an engaging read but overall felt it lacked depth. I was left feeling slightly unsatisfied as I would have like the story to have continued on as it ended rather abruptly. I am curious as to how Nooras¿ life would have evolved.
meggyweg on LibraryThing 28 days ago
Meh. I suppose this story ended the same way it probably would have if the events had taken place in real life, but it left me feeling unsatisfied. What I disliked most, I guess, was the way major characters had a way of appearing in the novel, then disappearing forever: Rashid, Sager. Actually, what was the point of Rashid's presence in the story anyway? He didn't seem to contribute much. The premise was good but I think this book could have been written much better.
RidgewayGirl on LibraryThing 28 days ago
[The Sand Fish] is set in the UAE during the 1950s, a time when the traditional cultures had not yet been transformed into the modern world of skyscrapers and artificial islands. Noora is a mountain girl who is pressured into marriage by her worried brother who things that the hard scrabble life in the desolate mountains is no place for a woman. Noora is taken to a village near the city of Dubai and has to adjust to being the third wife of a wealthy but stingy older man. That's about it, but there's a lot about the culture and values of the region and Noora is, refreshingly, not a modern Westerner dressed up in a burka. The world described here no longer exists but this book provides valuable insight into a part of the world I know much too little about.
PeskyLibrary on LibraryThing 28 days ago
The Sand Fish is a wonderful novel, full of surprises and intriguing characters. The places described, for those of us not lucky enough to have travelled that far in the world, come across as both harsh yet beautiful, the description allowing you to become completely immersed. Noora, the young woman victimized by an arranged marriage due to the poor circumstances of her family, is strong, and heroic in her own way.Noora is a natural beauty from the mountains, like her surroundings, yet runs barefoot among the rocks till her own feet are much like the cloven hooves of the goats she cares for. In their search for help for their father Noora and her brother, Sager, have a fascinating interlude with a ¿witch¿, a healer, Zobaida, in a mountain town. When circumstances dictate, her brother genuinely feels Noora must be married off for her own good, but it is painful and frightening for Noora. This Zobaida ultimately brokers the marriage for Noora. But in the meantime Noora finds love, and your heart just breaks thinking about how this culture, at least as set in the 1950¿s of this novel, doesn¿t recognize love as a necessary part of marriage, it¿s all about the best financial and social arrangement for your family. Despite many physical and emotional hardships Noora finds a way to be at peace with herself and look forward to a bearable future.Maha Gargash, the author, does a lovely job of incorporating some Arabic words into the dialog, giving the story a more authentic feel for us westerners. Ms. Gargash is also a film documentarian of some note of ¿Emirati Culture¿; and this eye for detail goes a long way to making her novel so realistic. This would also be a fine novel for Young Adults, giving wonderful exposure to another culture.MAT 03/01/2010
DubaiReader on LibraryThing 28 days ago
So pleased to read a novel about Dubai :)I was so thrilled to read a novel based in Duabi, a fascinating record of culture and behaviour in this area in the '50s.The book starts in the remote mountains of Ras al Kaimah / Musandam (I think), where two matchmakers arrive to tutor Noora in the art of becoming a wife and pleasing her husband. With this, her wild childhood, running free in the mountains, comes to an abrupt end. She is to be the third wife of a much older man; her main responsibility - to produce a baby.She is not without temptation from younger men, however, and sails close to the wind on several occasions.There is some wonderful imagery - a water filled cave hidden in the depths of arid mountains is one example that comes to mind. In addition there was a vivid description of the souk as Noora lands on the shores of Sharjah (??).The language is also interesting; although extremely readable, there are give-away phrases of the author's background:" crept into Moza's home on whispering tongues".".....she clutched the bedpost and became one with the bursting clouds".The position of women is well illustrated, particularly in relation to multiple marriages. The man is all-powerful and the wives have to get along as best they can.Pearl diving is mentioned too, plus the ensuing health problems of fading eyesight and poor lungs.We discussed this book at a book group and I'll agree that it's not without its flaws, but for me the reading experience was well worth the 5* that I have given.More please Ms Gargash.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago