Book Talk
Finding Nouf
Reviewed by- linda (2010/01/03, 05:59 AM)
Zoe Ferraris has given us two mysteries in this debut novel, one to be solved and one that simply evolves. The fundamental mystery as indicated in the book title is finding a 16 year old girl who is missing. With a writing style that is clean and straightforward, Ferraris presents many twists and turns and an interesting puzzle to be solved. The characters are persuasive and provide a literary element to the book. My initial negative feelings of conflict and aversion to the main character Nayir, gradually transform into feelings of approval and respect and with it, some of my personal misconceptions of Saudi men; they are not necessarily all cruel, rigid beings. The more compelling mystery however is that of the repressive Saudi culture. The author illustrates the complex nature of relationships between men and women in this society where casual relationships between the sexes are challenging and transgressions punishable (by the “relationship police”). The voice of Nayir gives an honest perspective of the anxiety and frustrations a male in this culture feels and Katay is the voice of the future for women; she is forward thinking and takes non traditional avenues like choosing her own marriage partner and working in a lab rather than using her degree to teach. The Arabian Desert also has a voice; there are some very interesting passages of living in this extreme climate. In summary, a nice mystery and a captivating look at the Muslim culture. Awarded the 2008 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for first fiction and winner of the Alex Award, which is given to adult books that have special appeal to young adults. I look forward to this author’s next book.Back.

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