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Finding Nouf

by Zoë Ferraris

Finding Nouf
  • Critics' Opinion:

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

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Book Reviewed by:
Donna Chavez

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Susan Reiners (05/18/09)

Way behind the headlines
This book was a shock and an eye-opener. Of course anyone who's been paying attention in the last few decades knows that Saudi Arabia is a "sexist" society. Women can't drive, vote, etc. But the big shock to me was the guilt the detective felt about even thinking of or seeing a (dead) naked woman. The story was pretty good, especially for a first-time author, but the real deal here was the close look at beliefs, customs and lives in this society - and the truly extraordinary lengths some people will go to in order to circumvent the rules. I look forward to reading her next book.
CowardlyLion (03/20/09)

Good but not great
The book is unusual (and remarkable) in its portrayal of not just the claustrophobic lives of women, and in many cases, men, in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, but also in its suggestions of the tiny revolts and rebellions that will almost certainly lead to the collapse of this oppressive culture in the not too distant future. That note of hope redeems an otherwise somewhat bleak atmosphere.
Very few novels have similar settings and similar perspectives - Reading Lolita in Teheran comes to mind - and more are certainly needed. All credit to the author for boldly going where not many have gone before.
That said, the narrative and the language are nothing to write home about. The author is a competent story-teller, but not a brilliant one. Doubtless her style will mature and evolve with time, and I look forward to reading her future work.
AllanP (10/15/08)

Engrossing intro to an unknown land
"Finding Nouf" led me deep into the intricacies of relationship in an Islamic society. The religious police (feared but never seen) and the devout behaviour of the characters puts a new spin for a Westerner on the strict rules that women (and men) must observe in Saudi society. Against this, the need for the protagonists to find the truth provides a powerful demand on the reader's attention. Beautifully written, I appreciate stories, especially mysteries where I learn something about a society as well as whodunit. While I had to put it down several times, sometimes due to the intensity, I always came back as soon as I could. I look forward to more.
Power Reviewer Midwest Reader (09/09/08)

Page-turning literary mystery!
Exotic locale, a society oppressive to women, a charming investigator, and a great story combine to make this literary mystery too good to be labeled by one genre. It is well-written enough to be literary, yet quite a page-turner, too! I really enjoyed it!
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Beyond the Book:
  The Bedouin of Saudi Arabia

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