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The burkha-clad body of a young woman is discovered on the grimy sands of Jeddah beach; soon afterwards, a strong-minded American woman finds herself alone and afraid in the most repressive city on earth when her husband suddenly disappears. Investigating policeman Osama Ibrahim, forensic scientist Katya Hijazi and her friend, the strictly devout Bedouin guide Nayir Sharqi join forces to search out the truth in the scorching city streets and the vast, lethal emptiness of the desert beyond. Breathtakingly fast-paced, sure-footed and thrilling, this novel paints in dazzling colours a city of veils in which more is hidden than is revealed, and nothing is what it seems.
About The Author
Zoe Ferraris lived in Jeddah for a year as part of a strict Saudi community before returning to live in the United States. She has received an MFA from Columbia University and now lives in San Francisco with her daughter.
There has recently been a spate of biographical accounts of life as an Islamic woman in various Middle Eastern countries. Many tell of the suppression of rights and the domination of women by patriarchal and religion-dominated societies.
Here is a remarkable novel addressing many of the same issues in an unputdownable crime novel set in Saudi Arabia.
The burkha-clad body of a young woman is discovered on the grimy sands of Jeddah beach. Soon afterwards, a strong-minded American woman, Miriam Walker, finds herself alone and afraid in the most repressive city on Earth when her husband suddenly disappears.
The two events intersect when investigating policeman Osama Ibrahim, forensic scientist Katya Hijazi and her friend, the strictly devout Bedouin guide Nayir Sharqi discover a connection. The murdered woman turns out to be film-maker Leila Nawar who has made enemies with her work critical of religious hypocrisy, and the missing husband has had dealings with her. As they seek answers to the murder and the disappearance, the team confronts the hidden powerbase in Jeddah, and brings into sharp focus their own views about the strictures and tenets of Islam.
While being a terrific crime novel in its own right, City of Veils is much more than that, and will leave you thinking long after you put it down. It is a good example of a genre novel transcending the category and exploring issues beyond the murder mystery elements of the plot. It follows Ferraris' first novel The Night of the Mi'raj which introduced the main female characters.
Published: 3rd June 2010
Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 15.3 x 3.2
Weight (kg): 0.51