Archive for the ‘Middle East’ Category

TO THE END OF THE LAND by David Grossman

Ora is a fiftyish Israeli woman thinking about her younger son, Ofer, who has not merely left home, but done so in a way that fills her with fear. On the day of his discharge from military service, when he is already on leave at home, he volunteers to join the forces fighting some unspecified action in Southern Lebanon, signing up for a further month. Terrified that at any moment a notification team will turn up at her house to inform her of Ofer’s death, Ora flees to the Galilee mountains, beyond the reach of any news. As her husband Ilan has left her several months before, taking with him their eldest son, Ora is all alone. On impulse, she calls on Avram, a former lover who has fallen on hard times, seeking his company, his listening ear, and perhaps his restoration to mental and physical health, along with her own. The whole novel is essentially her “Month of Magical Thinking,” in which the past combines with the present, folding her personal history and that of her country into an almost mystical union.

September 21, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Israel, Middle East, Translated, World Lit, y Award Winning Author

CITY OF VEILS by Zoe Ferraris

There have been many literary mysteries written and many books about the plight of women in repressive Saudi Arabia, but I have never read an author who is able to so seamlessly weave these threads together to create a potboiler thriller that sizzles with knowledge, like CITY OF VEILS.

August 9, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Middle East, Mystery/Suspense, World Lit


WHERE MEN WIN GLORY, by Jon Krakauer, is a book about several things – Pat Tillman, the NFL, the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. army and its role in Pat Tilman’s death, friendly fire during wars, and the history of our involvement in the Middle East. Each of these topics is covered in a wonderfully page-turning manner, with the reader not wanting to put the book down. At the same time, Krakauer provides a huge amount of information that may be new, surprising or downright horrific.

July 29, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Afghanistan, Middle East, Non-fiction, Reading Guide

SMALL KINGDOMS by Anastasia Hobbet

Anastasia Hobbet’s novel about life in Kuwait between Saddam’s invasion of that country and the American invasion of Iraq is both gorgeous in its prose and compelling in its varied perspectives. Kuwait here is a real country, not a geographical footnote to a war, populated by people, both Kuwaiti and not, who navigate the difficult terrain of fear, loyalty, and social conventions. The story follows its characters to the brink of the second war where they, like the country they inhabit, face the changes ahead.

March 7, 2010 · Judi Clark · One Comment
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: 2010 Favorites, Class - Race - Gender, Middle East, World Lit


“Irresponsible, spoiled and bourgeois.” One of the characters in THE MUSEUM OF INNOCENCE, Orhan Pamuk’s new novel, uses these labels to describe a segment of Istanbul’s young adults. These same descriptors could specifically apply to 30-year-old Kemal, the novel’s protagonist. Kemal, part of Istanbul’s upper class, spends his time managing a portion of the family business. He has the privilege of an education in America and as the novel opens, is about to be engaged to Sibel, the daughter of another wealthy family in the city. It’s slated to be a marriage between equals.

December 14, 2009 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , , ,  · Posted in: 2009 Favorites, Middle East, Nobel Prize for Literature, Translated, Turkey, World Lit, y Award Winning Author

THE AGE OF ORPHANS by Laleh Khadivi

A young Kurdish boy, living in the Zagros Mountains in 1921, has always felt loved and protected, despite his family’s “poverty.” He enjoys “flying” from the roof of the family’s hut, experiencing the soaring feelings of earth and heaven at the same time, and identifying with the falcons. “With his chest opened upward, he pushes his face deeper into the beam of sun and wishes for his thin bones and narrow shoulders to aspire among the chaotic open-aired thrash of wings, to fly high and above the hemmed land and sweep aloft the delineations marked out of him, on him, into him” as a Kurd. In gorgeous and poetic language, author Laleh Khadivi, recreates the “gloried ground” to which the boy is connected by birth and culture.

September 20, 2009 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Debut Novel, Iran, Middle East, Whiting, World Lit