DubaiReader's Reviews > The Sand Fish: A Novel from Dubai

The Sand Fish by Maha Gargash
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Dec 17, 09

bookshelves: ew-pm-bk-grp, kutub-bk-grp
Read in December, 2009 — I own a copy

So pleased to read a novel about Dubai :)

I was so thrilled to read a novel based in Duabi, a fascinating record of culture and behaviour in this area in the '50s.
The book starts in the remote mountains of Ras al Kaimah / Musandam (I think), where two matchmakers arrive to tutor Noora in the art of becoming a wife and pleasing her husband. With this, her wild childhood, running free in the mountains, comes to an abrupt end. She is to be the third wife of a much older man; her main responsibility - to produce a baby.
She is not without temptation from younger men, however, and sails close to the wind on several occasions.

There is some wonderful imagery - a water filled cave hidden in the depths of arid mountains is one example that comes to mind. In addition there was a vivid description of the souk as Noora lands on the shores of Sharjah (??).
The language is also interesting; although extremely readable, there are give-away phrases of the author's background:
".....news crept into Moza's home on whispering tongues".
".....she clutched the bedpost and became one with the bursting clouds".

The position of women is well illustrated, particularly in relation to multiple marriages. The man is all-powerful and the wives have to get along as best they can.
Pearl diving is mentioned too, plus the ensuing health problems of fading eyesight and poor lungs.

We discussed this book at a book group and I'll agree that it's not without its flaws, but for me the reading experience was well worth the 5* that I have given.
More please Ms Gargash.
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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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Hiba Essa Read 'The Sand Fish' recently and was proud! Proud to be reading an English book based in the UAE written by an Emarati female.
As you correctly mentioned, the book is not without flaws but i loved the description of the desert life, simplicity and a woman's need for more than just "producing"! :p


DubaiReader I've been passing this book around, it's so great to have a book from here that is in English. I loved every minute of it in spite of its flaws.
And I saw Maha Gargash at the Festival last year.

Are you Emirati?? (I'm from UK).


Hiba Essa Oh wow!!
Yes, my father is half Emarati half Saudi. My mother is half Egyptian half Turkish. My friends call me cocktail :p (I hold a UAE passport though)

Yes, this was an easy light read but I felt connected to the story right from the start. I frequently hear and see the struggle that some Emarati women till date go through when it comes to marriage.


Hiba Essa Oh btw, Have you read 'The patience stone' by Atiq Rahimi?


DubaiReader Goodness - a real cocktail!!

No, haven't read The Patience Stone, do you recommend it?

I just won a pair of tkts to the Festival from Magrudy's :)


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