Saturday, May 1, 2010

Finding Nouf by Zoe Ferraris

A man and a woman in a sexually repressive culture try to solve a mystery together

I loved the way this unfamiliar, even highly unsympathetic Saudi Arabian culture was realized. I learned something about Saudi men through the main character, Nayir, a Muslim man. He doesn’t hate women – he’s just very modest and understands he may never get a bride without a third party introduction. Walking down the street is a minefield for both men and woman (more so for women). When Nayir meets Katya, a somewhat liberated woman, they try to solve a murder in Katya’s fiancĂ©’s family. The novel is about their feelings and their need to conceal that they’re working together. I really liked the setting, I liked the characters – what I didn’t like was the way the murder plot kept mechanically ripping into the far more interesting story of Nayir and Katya’s relationship.

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