The Woman Who Fell from the Sky

The Woman Who Fell from the Sky

by Jennifer Steil
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Overview

The Woman Who Fell from the Sky by Jennifer Steil

 
 
"I had no idea how to find my way around this medieval city. It was getting dark. I was tired. I didn’t speak Arabic. I was a little frightened. But hadn’t I battled scorpions in the wilds of Costa Rica and prevailed? Hadn’t I survived fainting in a San José brothel?  Hadn’t I once arrived in Ireland with only $10 in my pocket and made it last two weeks? Surely I could handle a walk through an unfamiliar town. So I took a breath, tightened the black scarf around my hair, and headed out to take my first solitary steps through Sana’a."-- from The Woman Who Fell From The Sky
 
In a world fraught with suspicion between the Middle East and the West, it's hard to believe that one of the most influential newspapers in Yemen--the desperately poor, ancestral homeland of Osama bin Laden, which has made has made international headlines for being a terrorist breeding ground--would be handed over to an agnostic, Campari-drinking, single woman from Manhattan who had never set foot in the Middle East. Yet this is exactly what happened to journalist, Jennifer Steil.
 
Restless in her career and her life, Jennifer, a gregarious, liberal New Yorker, initially accepts a short-term opportunity in 2006 to teach a journalism class to the staff of The Yemen Observer in Sana'a, the beautiful, ancient, and very conservative capital of Yemen. Seduced by the eager reporters and the challenging prospect of teaching a free speech model of journalism there, she extends her stay to a year as the paper's editor-in-chief. But she is quickly confronted with the realities of Yemen--and their surprising advantages.  In teaching the basics of fair and balanced journalism to a staff that included plagiarists and polemicists, she falls in love with her career again. In confronting the blatant mistreatment and strict governance of women by their male counterparts, she learns to appreciate the strength of Arab women in the workplace. And in forging surprisingly deep friendships with women and men whose traditions and beliefs are in total opposition to her own, she learns a cultural appreciation she never could have predicted.  What’s more, she just so happens to meet the love of her life.
 
With exuberance and bravery, The Woman Who Fell from the Sky offers a rare, intimate, and often surprising look at the role of the media in Muslim culture and a fascinating cultural tour of Yemen, one of the most enigmatic countries in the world.


From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307715876
Publisher: Crown/Archetype
Publication date: 05/11/2010
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 646,566
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Before moving to Yemen in 2006, Jennifer Steil was a senior editor at The Week, which she helped to launch in 2001. Her work has appeared in Time, Life, and Good Housekeeping. She lives in Sana'a, Yemen, with her fiancé, Tim Torlot, the British Ambassador to Yemen and their daughter Theadora Celeste.


From the Hardcover edition.

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The Woman Who Fell from the Sky: An American Woman's Adventures in the Oldest City on Earth 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In this memoir, Ms. Steil warmly describes her experiences as an American journalist in Yemen. She went to Yemen to teach a class on journalism, but then landed the editor position at a Yemeni newspaper. Ms. Steil's story focuses on how she learned to work with her Yemeni colleagues despite the cultural barriers. The story is touching and fairly interesting, and provides a welcome glimpse into Yemeni culture. However, I would have edited out the last chapter, where the author delves into her relationship with the married British Ambassador to Yemen.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A gifted writer, Steil surprised me with her brilliant and candid writing… and her elegance. It is rare to find a first book this enticing. Writing with a journalist's eye for detail, Steil narrates the journey she and her staff of a Yemeni newspaper take together, sometimes endearing, but then at other times a volatile clash of two cultures. I was immediately drawn into her story, so different and so original from many of the works being published here and abroad today. A truly refreshing change, The Woman Who Fell from the Sky definitely made me want to immediately order her next book, even before I turned the last page. I am not sure where Ms. Steil has been hiding all these years, but I am glad I have discovered her at last. I think I can expect the same exacting precision of writing in her next book. I cannot wait until it arrives! ~ Stephanie Sorensen, midwife, author, "Ma Doula: A Story Tour of Birth"
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