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1 Burnside Literature- A to Z

Finding Nouf

by

Finding Nouf Cover

ISBN13: 9780618873883
ISBN10: 0618873880
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
All Product Details

Only 1 left in stock at $6.50!

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A captivating page-turner that vividly evokes Saudi Arabian society and introduces an original new hero.

When sixteen-year-old Nouf goes missing and is found drowned in the desert outside Jeddah, Nayir — a desert guide hired by her prominent family to search for her — feels compelled to find out what really happened. Gentle, hulking, conscientious Nayir soon finds himself delving into the interior life of a wealthy, protected teenage girl in one of the most rigidly segregated of Middle Eastern societies.To gain access to the world of women, Nayir realizes he will have to join forces with Katya Hijazi, a lab technician at the coroner's office and the fiancee of Nouf's brother. In the course of working with Katya and uncovering the mysteries of the dead girl's mind, Nayir must confront his own desire for female companionship — and the limitations imposed by his beliefs.

Finding Nouf offers an unprecedented glimpse of daily life in Saudi Arabia in a lyrical, character-driven, and immensely satisfying mystery. Like Mma Romotswe in Alexander McCall Smith's best-selling series, Nayir al-Sharqi is a completely new kind of detective, who is sure to captivate both our hearts and our minds.

Review:

"A finely detailed literary mystery set in contemporary Saudi Arabia, Ferraris's debut centers on Nouf ash-Shrawi, a 16-year-old girl who disappeared into the desert three days before her marriage and has been found dead, several weeks pregnant. Palestinian Nayir al-Sharqi who lives in Jeddah and works occasionally for the rich Shrawi family, is asked by them to investigate Nouf's death discreetly. Nayir, a conservative Muslim and an outsider because of his nationality, his class and his large stature, is wary of traversing the wide gulf between Saudi men's and women's worlds, and is encouraged by his friend Othman, an adopted son of the Shrawis, to seek out the help of Katya Hijazi, Othman's fiance. Katya has a Ph.D. and is employed in the women's section of the state medical examiner's office. As Nayir and Katya's investigation progresses, it becomes clear that at least one of the Shrawis has something to hide. Ferraris, who has lived in Saudi Arabia, gets deep inside Nayir's and Katya's very different perspectives, giving a fascinating glimpse into the workings and assumptions of Saudi society. As a mystery, it's fairly well-turned, but it's the characters and setting that sparkle. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Ferraris's debut novel gives a fascinating peek into the lives and minds of devout Muslim men and women while serving up an engrossing mystery....Highly recommended." Library Journal

Review:

"A finely nuanced first novel offering an exceptionally balanced look at male and female perspectives." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"On the surface, Finding Nouf is a straight-up whodunit with comic undertones. But Ferraris takes a pedestrian venue and whisks the story into 1,001 wonders. Her characters are clearly drawn, her observations as sharp and the story unrolls like silk. As a vehicle into another world, this novel is better than a magic carpet ride." Oregonian

Review:

"Far-flung mysteries have been the thing for a few years, but Finding Nouf is both particularly well-crafted and readily accessible for American readers." Christian Science Monitor

Review:

"[T]hough the structure...flirts with the clichés of a murder mystery, the novel fills a niche: Glimpses of life inside Saudi Arabia are rare, and the novel is an intriguing portrait of a patriarchy that bars women from driving and only recently allowed them to rent apartments on their own." Minneapolis Star Tribune

Review:

"Ferraris writes with authority about how Saudi insiders and outsiders alike perceive the United States....With equal authority, she stakes her own claim on the world map, opening Saudi Arabia for mystery fans to reveal the true minds and hearts of its denizens." Los Angeles Times

Synopsis:

Fast-paced and utterly transporting, Finding Nouf is a riveting literary mystery and an unprecedented window into the lives of men and women in Saudi Arabia.

 

When sixteen-year-old Nouf goes missing, her prominent family calls on Nayir al-Sharqi, a pious desert guide, to lead the search party. Ten days later, just as Nayir is about to give up in frustration, her body is discovered by anonymous desert travelers. But when the coroners office determines that Nouf died not of dehydration but from drowning, and her family seems suspiciously uninterested in getting at the truth, Nayir takes it upon himself to find out what really happened. He quickly realizes that if he wants to gain access to the hidden world of women, he will have to join forces with Katya Hijazi, a lab worker at the coroners office who is bold enough to bare her face and to work in public. Their partnership challenges Nayir and forces him to reconcile his desire for female companionship within the parameters imposed by his beliefs. 

About the Author

Zoe Ferraris moved to Saudi Arabia in the aftermath of the first Gulf War to live with her then-husband and his extended family, a group of Saudi-Palestinian Bedouins who had never welcomed an American into their lives before. She first conceived the idea for Finding Nouf at a jacket bazaar in Jeddah, where her ex-husband bought a Columbo coat and proposed setting off to solve mysteries — though to Zoë the only mystery at the time was why they were at a jacket bazaar in the hottest country in the world. She has an M.F.A. from Columbia University and received first prize for mystery fiction at the Santa Barbara Writers' Conference in 2003. She currently lives in San Francisco with her teenage daughter. Finding Nouf is Ferraris's first novel. Translation rights have so far sold in thirteen countries.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 5 comments:

Jeanne Bruland, January 2, 2011 (view all comments by Jeanne Bruland)
A suspenseful and engaging mystery set in Saudi Arabia. As fascinating as the mystery is this glimpse into various characters and their perspectives on the events and the culture in which they live. The portrayal of Saudi society is both respectful and revealing. Highly recommended!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(4 of 9 readers found this comment helpful)
Wendy Robards, July 25, 2009 (view all comments by Wendy Robards)
Nayir ash-Sharqi, a desert guide, is hired by the Shrawi family to locate a family member who has disappeared. Nouf, only sixteen years old and planning her wedding, appears to have run away into the desert. But when her body is found in a wadi and the coroner reveals her cause of death as drowning, disturbing questions arise. Nayir joins forces with Katya Hijazi, a lab worker at the coroner’s office who is like no woman he has ever met. Together they begin to piece together Nouf’s last days and hours to uncover the mystery surrounding her death.

Finding Nouf is at its heart a mystery, but it is also more than this. Set in modern Saudi Arabia, the novel explores the role of women in a gender-segregated society which clings to its history while at the same time must address the changing views of the women it seeks to control and protect. Nayir is a devote man who prays regularly and wishes to follow the laws of Allah; but he is also a bachelor who fantasizes of one day finding a woman with whom he can share his life.

Nayir’s conflicted feelings provide the tension in the book. At first I disliked Nayir, finding him rigidly pious and chauvinistic. Ferraris does a remarkable job turning Nayir from a largely distasteful character to one the reader begins to respect. It is Nayir’s growth as a man (who comes to see women as human beings with dreams, desires and individual strengths) which elevates the novel to more than a simple whodunnit.

Katya represents the modern Saudi woman – a woman who has her own job and dares to speak to men not related to her. It is through her that the reader begins to gain a deeper understanding of Nouf – a teenager from a wealthy family who yearns for freedom.

Zoe Ferraris once lived in Saudi Arabia during the time following the first Gulf War. At that time, she was married to a Saudi-Palestinian Bedouin and was exposed to a culture largely closed to Americans. Knowing this about the author gave me respect for the perspective of this novel which although seen mostly through the eyes of the lead male character, exposes the dreams and desires of women living in a paternalistic society.

Ferraris’ writing is clean and riveting. The core mystery (what actually happened to Nouf) has many twists and turns which kept me guessing right to the end. This is a novel I would classify as “literary mystery” as its focus is as much on its main characters (and their growth) as on the mystery which propels the story.

Readers who enjoy a good mystery, as well as literary fiction, will enjoy this look inside the Saudi culture.

Recommended.
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(8 of 13 readers found this comment helpful)
lynx3, October 20, 2008 (view all comments by lynx3)
a mystery and cultural study rolled into one interesting read.
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(5 of 11 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 5 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780618873883
Author:
Ferraris, Zoe
Publisher:
Mariner Books
Author:
Ferraris, Zo?
Author:
euml
Author:
Ferraris, Zo'e
Author:
&
Author:
Ferraris, Zo?
Author:
Ferraris
Author:
Zo
Subject:
Teenage girls
Subject:
Saudi arabia
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Mystery fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
Mystery & Detective - General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20090506
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
from 9
Language:
English
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
8 x 5.31 in 0.64 lb
Age Level:
from 14

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » A to Z

Finding Nouf Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$6.50 In Stock
Product details 320 pages Houghton Mifflin Company - English 9780618873883 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "A finely detailed literary mystery set in contemporary Saudi Arabia, Ferraris's debut centers on Nouf ash-Shrawi, a 16-year-old girl who disappeared into the desert three days before her marriage and has been found dead, several weeks pregnant. Palestinian Nayir al-Sharqi who lives in Jeddah and works occasionally for the rich Shrawi family, is asked by them to investigate Nouf's death discreetly. Nayir, a conservative Muslim and an outsider because of his nationality, his class and his large stature, is wary of traversing the wide gulf between Saudi men's and women's worlds, and is encouraged by his friend Othman, an adopted son of the Shrawis, to seek out the help of Katya Hijazi, Othman's fiance. Katya has a Ph.D. and is employed in the women's section of the state medical examiner's office. As Nayir and Katya's investigation progresses, it becomes clear that at least one of the Shrawis has something to hide. Ferraris, who has lived in Saudi Arabia, gets deep inside Nayir's and Katya's very different perspectives, giving a fascinating glimpse into the workings and assumptions of Saudi society. As a mystery, it's fairly well-turned, but it's the characters and setting that sparkle. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Ferraris's debut novel gives a fascinating peek into the lives and minds of devout Muslim men and women while serving up an engrossing mystery....Highly recommended."
"Review" by , "A finely nuanced first novel offering an exceptionally balanced look at male and female perspectives."
"Review" by , "On the surface, Finding Nouf is a straight-up whodunit with comic undertones. But Ferraris takes a pedestrian venue and whisks the story into 1,001 wonders. Her characters are clearly drawn, her observations as sharp and the story unrolls like silk. As a vehicle into another world, this novel is better than a magic carpet ride."
"Review" by , "Far-flung mysteries have been the thing for a few years, but Finding Nouf is both particularly well-crafted and readily accessible for American readers."
"Review" by , "[T]hough the structure...flirts with the clichés of a murder mystery, the novel fills a niche: Glimpses of life inside Saudi Arabia are rare, and the novel is an intriguing portrait of a patriarchy that bars women from driving and only recently allowed them to rent apartments on their own."
"Review" by , "Ferraris writes with authority about how Saudi insiders and outsiders alike perceive the United States....With equal authority, she stakes her own claim on the world map, opening Saudi Arabia for mystery fans to reveal the true minds and hearts of its denizens."
"Synopsis" by , Fast-paced and utterly transporting, Finding Nouf is a riveting literary mystery and an unprecedented window into the lives of men and women in Saudi Arabia.

 

When sixteen-year-old Nouf goes missing, her prominent family calls on Nayir al-Sharqi, a pious desert guide, to lead the search party. Ten days later, just as Nayir is about to give up in frustration, her body is discovered by anonymous desert travelers. But when the coroners office determines that Nouf died not of dehydration but from drowning, and her family seems suspiciously uninterested in getting at the truth, Nayir takes it upon himself to find out what really happened. He quickly realizes that if he wants to gain access to the hidden world of women, he will have to join forces with Katya Hijazi, a lab worker at the coroners office who is bold enough to bare her face and to work in public. Their partnership challenges Nayir and forces him to reconcile his desire for female companionship within the parameters imposed by his beliefs. 

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