For Jill, a young American living in Saudi Arabia in the 1980s, life is in “a holding pattern” of long days in a restrictive place-“sandlocked nowhere,” as another expat calls it. Others don't know how to leave, and try to adopt the country as their own. And to those who were born there, the changes seem to come at warp speed: Thurayya, the daughter of a Bedouin chief, later finds herself living in a Riyadh high-rise where, she says, there are “worlds wound together with years.”
The characters in the linked stories in Triple Time are living an uneasy mesh of two divergent cultures, in a place where tradition and progress are continually in flux. These are tales of confliction-of old and new, rich and poor, sexual repression and personal freedom. We experience a barren yet strangely beautiful landscape jolted by sleek glass apartment towers and opulent fountains. On the fringes of urbanity, Bedouins traverse the desert in search of the next watering hole.
Beneath a surface of cultural upheaval, the stories hold deeper, more personal meanings. They tell of yearnings-for a time lost, for a homeland, for belonging, and for love. Anne Sanow reveals much about the culture, psyche, and essence of life in modern Saudi Arabia, where Saudis struggle to keep their traditions and foreigners muddle through in search of a quick buck or a last chance at making a life for themselves in a world that is quickly running out of hiding places.
About the Author
Anne Sanow's work has been published in Kenyon Review, Dossier, the Chicago Tribune, and elsewhere. Her awards include the PEN New England Award for Fiction and the Nelson Algren Award for Short Fiction, and fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Very disappointing. I spent time in Saudi Arabia over a period of 15 years and this just did not ring true to me, based on my experiences.
I'd read one of the short stories in a literary mag earlier this year and have been anxiously awaiting the publication of the collection. The wait was worth it. It is an education in life in an environment where things are changing, some for the better, some for the worse and some unknown. Characters are challenged in terms of how they deal with these changes. The character development and background descriptions are terrific. The book is engrossing. Now I just have to wait for her novel!