I was surprised to see that there are not that many books from UAE out there. It was not a hard mission to find one, and you can easily get this one as an e-book, but I was looking for something different, but couldn’t find what I was looking for this time. I didn’t have a certain book on my mind, but quite frankly I am ready to read about something else than oppressed women living between the modern world and old traditions. That is exactly what The Sandfish by Maha Gargash is about.
I don’t want to spoil the fun for anyone wanting to read the book, but since my UAE project started out with me ending up reading a book about this subject, it’s how it goes. The oppressed woman gets married off to a man, has an affair with another one, and then she doesn’t know what to do.
Luckily there are also good things about this book. It is set in the 1950s, so times were different for sure. Noora is 17, so on the verge of being an adult. Her mother dies, father goes insane, so her brother sells her off to a rich man. Noora is a Bedouin living in the mountains on ancestral grounds. Even though there were many restrictions in her life she was still able to roam freely up in the mountains. her new life by the sea is restricted, and the other wives are jealous of her because she’s the first one to get pregnant. Another man might have something to do with this…
Not that original of a story but depending on the cultural context it’s always possible to make it different. I’m not entirely sure it worked out with his book. It is an easy read, and fairly short, but not rememberable. I do admire women who at a young age has to go through things like this, and who manages to take some sort of control over their lives. It’s impossible to know what I would do in the similar situation, but I think I would have chosen differently.
If this is your first book about this subject it probably works quite well. If you’ve read many books like this, I don’t think you’ll get much more out of this one. Naturally, if you are especially interested in Dubai and the UAE, it might be the book you are looking for.