Friday Morning Bookclub

October 26, 2011

The Friday Morning Bookclub Gives Finding Nouf By Zoe Ferraris 3.45 Omelets

Filed under: Finding Nouf,Polls,Rate The Book — susanbright @ 10:48 am
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Amazon readers gave Finding Nouf 4 1/2 stars

Barnes and Noble readers gave Finding Nouf 3 1/2 stars

Finding Nouf is a fascinating  murder mystery which takes place in modern day Saudi Arabia. The mystery itself was good, but most us agreed that the most compelling part of this book was the glimpse into the lives of the Saudi people and learning about their culture. Ferraris was married to a Saudi man and lived in Saudi Arabia for close to a year.   Ferraris’s second book, City of Veils is also a murder mystery which takes place in Saudi Arabia. I look forward to reading it!


October 22, 2011

Finding Nouf: A Review By Carol

Filed under: Book Discussions,Book Recomendations,Finding Nouf — susanbright @ 10:03 am
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Our meeting in October was about the book Finding Nouf by Zoe Ferraris, a murder-mystery set in present day Saudi Arabia. In this story, 16 year old Nouf, a young woman from a very large, traditional and wealthy Saudi family, had been missing and was found dead and her family is remarkably uninterested in a thorough investigation of the circumstances. But one of Nouf’s many brothers wanted to know the truth, so he hired a desert guide known for his tracking skills and quietly launched a private investigation.

As Nayir, the guide, and Katya, the lab worker at the coroner’s office, join forces to unofficially and surreptitiously investigate this strange and compelling case, the readers are taken into an investigation of our own: we are allowed a rare glimpse into the daily life of Saudi Arabians, who live in one of the most gender segregated and closed societies in the world. As the investigation gets more complex, we begin to see all kinds of startling contrasts: the differences between the lives of westerners and middle easterners; the differences in the lives of the wealthy Saudis and the working class Saudis. It also showcases the vast differences in the lives of men and women in the Saudi culture and the religious constraints that prohibit their partnership.

By the end of the book, everyone is changed. Nouf’s family is faced with the trauma of having painful secrets exposed. The investigators, Nayir, a traditional Saudi man, and Katya, a more progressive Saudi woman, are faced with the stress caused by their illegal collaboration, which would have frightening legal consequences, and the distress that is caused when they admit to the feelings they develop for each other, which is against all their cultural rules. Every one of them is left with a need to cope with a life changing conflict. Likewise, the readers are left feeling conflicted. The middle-eastern mindset is so alien to us, but if you view our culture through foreign eyes, maybe our western lifestyle is disturbing and sometimes horrifying in its own way. It’s something to think about.

Ferraris’s next book, City of Veils, is another fascinating window through which we can peek into the culture of the strict Moslem society in Saudi Arabia. It is another murder mystery with the same two investigators but this time Americans are involved. It’s in this story that the differences between westerners and middle easterners are really examined. I really enjoyed it. It made me think back to another terrific book we read a long time ago that takes place in the middle east (Egypt), Man in the White Sharkskin Suit by Lucette Lagnado, and through these books, I am getting a better idea of that culture and our own.

October 11, 2011

Rate The Book: Finding Nouf By Zoe Ferraris

Filed under: Finding Nouf,Polls,Rate The Book — susanbright @ 11:23 am

Please help us rate this month’s book. All votes and comments are welcomed!

October 6, 2011

Meet Zoe Ferraris, Author Of This Month’s Book: Finding Nouf

Filed under: Finding Nouf — susanbright @ 7:29 pm

Zoe Ferraris in Saudi Arabia

This is one of those rare cases in which I find the author to be as interesting as the book she wrote. Zoe Ferraris was born in Oklahoma. The daughter of an Army Officer, she relocated quite often with her family, living in numerous countries.  While attending college in San Francisco, Zoe met her husband to be, a Saudi Palestinian Bedouin and at the age of 19 they married. After the birth of their daughter and shortly after the first Gulf War,  the three of them traveled to Saudi Arabia for a “short trip” to meet the  relatives.  For close to a year they lived in a conservative community with her husband’s family. There were rules for everything, and women were not allowed to leave the house alone, or they would risk being  chased by the religious police and possibly even smacked with a whip.

Not long after returning to the United States, the couple divorced and Zoe’s husband moved back to Jeddah. She returns to Saudi Arabia from time to time and when in Saudi Arabia  wears a burka. Zoe completed her MFA in Fiction at Columbia University in 2006.  

Finding Nouf, Ferraris’s debut novel is a murder mystery which takes place in modern-day Saudi Arabia. and was published in 2008. Her second novel City of Veils which is also a murder mystery was published in 2010. Although I learned quite a bit about life in modern-day Saudi Arabia   just by reading Finding Nouf, I would love to hear more about  Zoe Ferraris’s experiences. I am sure that she has lots of stories to tell about her time in Jeddah as well as her relationships with her now ex husband’s family.

September 12, 2011

This Month’s Book: Finding Nouf By Zoe Ferraris

Filed under: Finding Nouf,What is next?? — susanbright @ 6:20 pm

 When 16-year-old Nouf disappears just days before her arranged wedding is to take place it appears as if she is just one more runaway bride.  Also missing is a camel and pick up truck and all clues point to the fact that she has run away into the desert.  Nayir Sharqi, a family friend as well as a desert guide is brought in to lead the search party. When Nouf’s body is discovered ten days later and the coroner concludes that she did not die from dehydration as suspected, but from drowning, Nayir is deeply troubled and knows that he has got to find out what really happened to Nouf.

Finding Nouf takes place in modern-day Saudi Arabia, where men and women remain segregated and marriages are arranged. We have read books that have taken place in Afghanistan, Morocco, India, China and Iran and have learned a great deal about their culture. Join us in reading Finding Nouf, a  page turner mystery which will give us a glimpse into the lives of the Saudi Arabian people.

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