Friday, December 18, 2009

The Night of the Miraj by Zoe Ferraris .

On her website Zoe features her first novel called "Finding Nouf", which is a little confusing because I bought and read the same novel although it's printed title was "The Night of the Miraj". This novel has 356 pages and was written in 2008. I do not know why there is a difference in titles for the same novel. 16 year old Nouf ash-Shrawi disappears from her home in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Nayir is on the trail to find the truth with the help of Katya Hijazi.

This book is poor and I vote it a MISS. I will not buy another of Zoe's books because the quality is not there. The whole tone of this book is set on page 2...

Allah forgive me for imagining her ankles, he thought.

...This is not a regular crime/thriller. This story is long winded and it is not realistic. Imagine the chances of a wealthy Saudi family having a son who is engaged to a forensic scientist who can analyse samples and DNA. This book explores at great length the strict Islamic traditions of Saudi Arabia and the role of women in Saudi society. The only humour in this novel is from how daft the characters act because of the practicalities of their interpretation of Islam. "Oh no!" the men gasp as they get a glimpse of a woman's bare ankle. There are no great twists in this story which grinds slowly to an end with no great surprises. This novel does not move the reader but the life of Saudi's is very sad. Never mind our fear in the UK with the constant monitoring of the population by CCTV and speed cameras, the religious police in Saudi Arabia are really to be feared. There is a huge difference in the choice of clothing that women can wear in Saudi Arabia compared to the UK. Saudi women will not be allowed to wear those lovely low waist jeans that we like to see that show off their buttock cleavage as they shift their luggage in coach stations. Saudi women are forced to dress modestly and there is nothing in this book to offend anyone.
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