DubaiReader's Reviews > Sunset Oasis

Sunset Oasis by Bahaa Taher
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Mar 30, 10

bookshelves: kutub-bk-grp, 2010
Read in March, 2010

Life in an oasis c1890.

The two aspects of this book that I most enjoyed were the fascinating account of travelling across the desert, complete with a sand storm/tornado and the interesting insight into an intercultural marriage from the point of view of an Egyptian man.
Unfortunately though, the book overall didn't really grab me.

Having disgraced himself in the eyes of the Egyptian heierachy, Mahmood is relegated to the position of District Commissioner of the isolated Siwa Oasis. He travels there with his Irish wife, Catherine, who is fascinated by the antiquities of the area that date back to the Romans, Greeks and, her particular interest, Alexander the Great.
Mahmood and his wife are not welcome however, not surprisingly, as he is required to collect excessive amounts of tax from the residents of the oasis, in the form of olive oil and dates, that will be transported back to Cairo. This makes it difficult for Catherine to travel to the ancient sites she wishes to visit and her determination to do so causes further animositiy between themselves and the locals.
Add to this the infighting between the Easterners and the Westerners within the oasis community and various characters who are out purely for their own gains.

While I found a lot of this book interesting - the local customs and beliefs, the descriptions of the area, the mechanics of the Agwad (ruling body of the oasis) - overall it was a bit dry. The characters didn't really grab me and I wasn't driven to turn the next page.
A good read for devoted fans of "Global" literature, but otherwise not a 'must-have'.
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Reading Progress

03/26/2010 page 80
25.72%

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