The Bedouin of Saudi Arabia: Background information when reading Finding Nouf

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Finding Nouf

by Zoë Ferraris

Finding Nouf by Zoë Ferraris X
Finding Nouf by Zoë Ferraris
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jun 2008, 320 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2009, 320 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Donna Chavez

Buy This Book

About this Book

Beyond the Book:
The Bedouin of Saudi Arabia

Print Review

Once the undisputed masters of the desert, Bedouin tribes have diminished over the last couple of centuries – mostly due to governments intent on taxation and political control – to become only about 10% of today's Saudi population. They are still a distinct sect and although Nayir al-Sharqi is not a Bedouin by blood he has been raised as one which sets him apart from urban Arabs in several ways. First and foremost, he knows his way around the desert while his urban friends (whose ancestors were likely Bedouins) would never think of leaving home without their GPS.

Bedouins (from the Arabic word bedu, meaning inhabitants of the desert) have controlled the desert trade routes for thousands of years as nomads who followed livestock migration routes, providing meat and dairy products to desert communities. Due to their knowledge of the shifting desert sands they were and are often hired to escort caravans as guides and drivers. Their knowledge and expertise of tracking and desert navigation is legendary. In Finding Nouf Nayir calls upon his Bedouin friend to read the crime scene tracks and footprints. The man claims an ability so precise as to distinguish between new and old footprints, those made at night and during the day and which prints belong to men or to women even though they may have worn the same type of shoe.

Despite being among the poorest of Saudi citizens – as nomads they have, by custom, eschewed personal possessions – Bedouins have long been held in high esteem as models of Islamic behavior. Thus Nayir feels compelled to behave accordingly and the pressure to measure up to his Bedouin upbringing is evident as he labors to avoid any taint of impropriety in his dealings with women. The reputation is a mixed bag, however, both uplifting and a burden, because he enjoys the way his friends trust him around their women but it is frustrating when some look upon him almost as a eunuch.

Finally, Nayir is proud to be associated with the Bedouins because of their strict code of ethics which maintains values such as loyalty, obedience, generosity, hospitality, honor, cunning and revenge. However, he isn't as superstitious as many Bedouins and doesn't believe in the evil eye or in Jinns.

Also of interest: A short history of Saudi Arabia in the sidebar to The Siege of Mecca.

Article by Donna Chavez

This article was originally published in June 2008, and has been updated for the May 2009 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

This article is available to non-members for a limited time. You can also read these articles for free. For full access become a member today.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Last Ballad
    The Last Ballad
    by Wiley Cash
    Ella May WigginsA hundred years ago or so, farming land west of Charlotte, North Carolina was given over to giant ...
  • Book Jacket: Future Home of the Living God
    Future Home of the Living God
    by Louise Erdrich
    Louise Erdrich began Future Home of the Living God in 2002, set it aside, and picked it up again in ...
  • Book Jacket: The Last Mrs. Parrish
    The Last Mrs. Parrish
    by Liv Constantine
    Amber has lived in poverty all her life, and she has had enough. Of course, wishing to have money ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Second Mrs. Hockaday by Susan Rivers

At once a love story, a history lesson and a beautifully written tale of forgiveness.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Story of Arthur Truluv
    by Elizabeth Berg

    An emotionally powerful novel from New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Berg.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

E Dog H I D

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.