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I rapporti sono tesi però anche con la comunità anglosassone degli espatriati, spesso razzisti, che vivono esclusivamente per il denaro, tra pettegolezzi e dicerie. There was reflexive disparagement of Saudi society without knowing anything about it which was poor.

What Mantel does well is to replicate Frances’ sense of unease, I don’t think the reader ever quite relaxes – the society is not one many of us in the west would want to live in. It was an interesting read – and I also found the reactions of the group interesting when we met to discuss it.But journalists, because of their transient status, can never experience the texture of life: that daily blend of flatness and fear, the feeling that, though nothing seems to be happening, events are forming up in the shadows. There is also the issue of the expatriate community and how they behave (book clubs, casual affairs, dinner parties), which Frances also finds difficulty in adapting to. But her friendships are with the Muslim, though not Saudi, women who live in her off-compound apartment block. An unspeaking customs official had emptied the cigarettes from his packet of 20 and was slitting open each one, sifting the tobacco with lifted fingers, and sniffing it from time to time like some 18th-century dandy. Entre el gótico más sofocante y claustrofóbico, y el thriller de lo más actual, a pesar de que es una novela de 1988, en esta su tercera obra, Hilary Mantel retrata con maestria los intentos de una mujer occidental por encajar de alguna forma en la sociedad saudí ya que se ve obligada a vivir alli durante un tiempo debido al trabajo de su marido.

Instead her central character self-righteously clung to her right to wear short skirts, drink booze, and make her hosts uncomfortable. He is then offered a post in Saudi Arabia with a firm building, amongst other things, a new government ministry building. On the book's American publication in 1997, one reviewer described it as "a bold, searingly honest and uncompromising novel"; [5] while another praised "Mantel's knack for leavening her weighty themes with seductive narrative strategies.Rooney precisely articulates everything that's going on below the surface; there's humor and insight here as well as the pleasure of getting to know two prickly, complicated people as they try to figure out who they are and who they want to become. Frances and her husband Andrew have enjoyed their expatriate life in the same region of Africa that I lived and traveled in at roughly the same time–late 80’s and early 90’s. She describes her impressions upon first arrival - and brought back memories I had forgotten of the utter isolation, and the difficulty making connections. Whether from isolation, malice, or simple boredom, people there were far more credulous and excitable than educated people are generally thought to be, and this hermetic, overheated atmosphere made it a thriving black petri dish of melodrama and distortion. The answers to all the questions that beset you are not in facts, which are the greatest illusion of all, but in you own heart, in your own habits, in your limitations, in your fear.

Following the death of Hilary Mantel it was suggested by someone in the group that we read something from her back catalogue. I read this when it was first published when much was made of Mantel’s own experience of living in Saudi. Con il marito geologo si trasferirono poi per qualche anno in Arabia Saudita, dove scrisse il suo primo romanzo pubblicato: Every Day is Mother's Day, che uscì nel 1985; ma intanto teneva anche dei diari che certamente stanno alla base di questo romanzo ( Eight Months on Ghazzah Street), che uscì nel 1988, dopo la continuazione del primo: Vacant Posession (1986).Rumours circulate throughout the expat community of the terrible things that have befallen other Western women who have gone out inappropriately dressed or been found in the company of a man they weren’t married to. Mantel has also denied her protagonist the consolation of her own profession of writing, which must have at least allowed her to fill many of the hours she spent essentially trapped at home while her husband worked. When I arrived "home" - the first of my four homes in the kingdom - I found I had lost a single shoe.

Hillary has very successfully managed to expose the many frictions between Islam and the West in this unique and captivating novel. We soon learn that, to get things done in Saudi Arabia, you need an arranger, someone familiar with the local customs who can get things arranged, and you need to bribe.

This novel, by the same author who recently won the Man Booker Prize, details the tension-filled life on a British woman who moves to Jeddah, Saudia Arabia with her husband.

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