From the two-time Man Booker Prize winner, a prescient and haunting novel of life in Saudi Arabia. Frances Shore is a cartographer by trade, a maker of maps, but when her husband's work takes her to Saudi Arabia she finds herself unable to map the Kingdom's areas of internal darkness. The regime is corrupt and harsh, the expatriates are hard ...
From the two-time Man Booker Prize winner, a prescient and haunting novel of life in Saudi Arabia. Frances Shore is a cartographer by trade, a maker of maps, but when her husband's work takes her to Saudi Arabia she finds herself unable to map the Kingdom's areas of internal darkness. The regime is corrupt and harsh, the expatriates are hard-drinking money-grubbers, and her Muslim neighbours are secretive, watchful. The streets are not a woman's territory; confined in her flat, she finds her sense of self begin to dissolve. She hears whispers, sounds of distress from the 'empty' flat above her head. She has only rumours, no facts to hang on to, and no one with whom to share her creeping unease. As her days empty of certainty and purpose, her life becomes a blank - waiting to be filled by violence and disaster.
Good. 0140108157 Good, clean text, paperback binding, light to moderate wear to corners and edges, may have previous owner's signature, remainder mark, sticker/residue, and/or other minor aesthetic flaws. Satisfaction guaranteed. Last Word Books & Press is an Infamous Independent Bookstore and Print Shop located in Olympia, Washington.
Publishers Weekly, 1997-07-14 Set in Saudi Arabia during the boom created by soaring oil prices in the 1980s, this sinuously crafted tale by Hawthorndon Award winner Mantel (for An Experiment in Love) uses the outsider status of a British woman and the minutiae of her daily life to mask and eventually reveal a chilling situation. Mantel builds a sense of disorientation, claustrophobia and paranoia in rendering the abysmal quotidian existence of Frances Shore. A cartographer, Frances has followed her civil engineer husband, Andrew, to the Red Sea port Jidda, where he is engaged in a lucrative construction project. Shunning the expatriate housing compound, the Shores move into a grim four-flat building on Ghazzah Street. Shut out from practicing her profession by the severe, ultra-sexist legal code of Saudi Islam, Frances writes in a journal and observes a domestic scene that comes to seem more and more ominous as she struggles to define the ever-shifting line between private morality and public order. A nonperson in the Muslim world, Frances is unable to break through a wall of prejudice about Westerners to come to a common understanding with her neighbors. She becomes hyperconscious of suspicious goings-on in their building, including a shadowy figure carrying a gun in the hallway. This story of a place where puzzles are "more apparent than real" ends provocatively with more questions than answers. Mantel's relentless pounding away at Frances's stultifying life offers a bit of misdirection, enabling the mystery to sneak towards its conclusion with disconcerting stealth. With marvelously understated wit, Mantel chronicles a world of teas and dinner parties that eventually coalesce into a sinister story of horror just beyond a veil. (Aug.) FYI: Mantel was only the third woman to win the Hawthorndon award in its 80-year history. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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