Finding Nouf

Finding Nouf

A Novel

eBook - 2009
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Zoë Ferraris's electrifying debut of taut psychological suspense offers an unprecedented window into Saudi Arabia and the lives of men and women there. When sixteen-year-old Nouf goes missing, along with a truck and her favorite camel, her prominent family calls on Nayir al-Sharqi, a desert guide, to lead a search party. Ten days later, just as Nayir is about to give up in frustration, her body is discovered by anonymous desert travelers. But when the coroner's office determines that Nouf died not of dehydration but from drowning, and her family seems suspiciously uninterested in getting at the truth, Nayir takes it upon himself to find out what really happened to her. This mission will push gentle, hulking, pious Nayir, a Palestinian orphan raised by his bachelor uncle, to delve into the secret life of a rich, protected teenage girl -- in one of the most rigidly gender-segregated of Middle Eastern societies. Initially horrified at the idea of a woman bold enough to bare her face and to work in public, Nayir soon realizes that if he wants to gain access to the hidden world of women, he will have to join forces with Katya Hijazi, a lab worker at the coroner's office. Their partnership challenges Nayir, bringing him face to face with his desire for female companionship and the limitations imposed by his beliefs. It also ultimately leads them both to surprising revelations. Fast-paced and utterly transporting, Finding Nouf offers an intimate glimpse inside a closed society and a riveting literary mystery.
Finding Nouf is an astounding feat of storytelling, a gripping novel that also explores with unsparing, sympathetic insight how the men and women of Saudi Arabia's new generation struggle with their modernizing yet still traditional society. -- Azadeh Moaveni, author of Lipstick Jihad Finding Nouf is my favorite kind of mystery: an unlikely detective guiding us through an unfamiliar world. Ferraris uses the genre smartly, setting an unsolved murder in a society that is complex, veiled, and itself full of mystery and intrigue. -- David Ebershoff, author of The 19th Wife Zoë Ferraris's novel lifts the veil on the repressed personal lives of Saudi Arabia's rich, giving us unparalleled insight into daily life in an oft-caricatured culture -- and a great mystery. Her detective, Nayir al-Sharqi, is a sharp desert guide, and one might say that in her writing Ferraris follows a similar profession. -- Matt Beynon Rees, author of The Collaborator of Bethlehem The mystery that preoccupies Finding Nouf keeps you turning its pages, while its characters linger with you long after you've finished. Katya and Nayir's unconventional partnership argues for the virtues of reconciliation even as it throws off sparks. Finding Nouf is a compelling and deeply humane book. -- Anita Amirrezvani, author of The Blood of Flowers Finding Nouf combines the ancient mysteries of the desert with sleek literary prose. This deeply original work is entrancing, stylish, and utterly compelling. -- Diana Abu-Jaber, author of Crescent Ferraris offers up a fascinating peek into the lives and minds of devout Muslim men and women while serving up an engrossing mystery ... Highly recommended. Library Journal A finely nuanced first novel offering an exceptionally balanced look at male and female perspectives. Kirkus Reviews With her debut novel, Zoe Ferraris makes a wonderful contribution to the burgeoning genre of ethnographic literary crime fiction. -- Financial Times "Ferraris writes with authority on how Saudi insiders and outsiders alike perceive the United States ... With equal authority, she stakes her own claim on the world map, opening Saudi Arabia up for mystery fans to reveal the true minds and hearts of its denizens." Los Angeles Times "The author's canny move using the tried-and-true murder mystery format allows her to sketch a trenchant portrait of Saudi society within an engaging yarn." Minneapolis Star-Tribune "Finding Nouf, Zoe Ferraris's engrossing debut novel, yanks the veil off Saudi Arabian culture while unraveling a compelling murder mystery." The Oregonian What truly sets this book apart from a detective novel is its prose. The San Francisco Chronicle Offers a fascinating glimpse inside domestic Saudi Arabia...a page-turning thriller..."Finding Nouf" turns out to be a great beach read. Cleveland Plain Dealer
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009
ISBN: 9780547429922
Characteristics: 1 online resource (320 pages)
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Call Number: eBook


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Jun 14, 2016

The mystery was a classic recipe mystery but still entertaining. What carries the most interest for me is the look into the lives of Saudi women. Although not immediately I will want to finish this trilogy to learn more about the culture.

rowanquincy Dec 27, 2014

I enjoyed the details of like in Saudi Arabia, particularly the parts pertaining to women. Had my attention the whole book.

Jun 05, 2014

Years ago I heard a talk by a woman who lived in Saudi Arabia. I was appalled at the limitations on her life, even though she lived in the U.S. compound. This book gave me some insight as to the life of Saudi women today. The two main characters solve the mysterious death of a rich young Saudi woman by circumventing those restrictions, they still have to find ways to pool their information without being caught communicating illegally, so it becomes a game of avoiding the religious police and finding the information they need to find out how and why Nouf died. The end hints at a possible deeper relationship for the two detectives. The writing, plot, and character depth were excellent. I can hardly wait to read the next in this series.

May 23, 2014

had this been the first book i read in the series i probably wouldn't have read the rest of the series.

Apr 18, 2014

I'll admit the story is fantastical as has been said , I still find it a wonderful peek into another culture, which I think was the main idea of the author

Feb 03, 2014

In terms of describing Saudi Arabia's traditions, way of life and attitudes towards women - as beings who are at the lowest level of classification of all living creatures, the book is interesting, but I would not put it in genre of mystery.

Jan 30, 2014

An interesting look into another culture, even if improbable.

Oct 12, 2013

This is the first in a trilogy, which unfortunately I've read in completely the reverse order! Zoe Ferraris (the author), an American woman, had been married to a Saudi man and lived in Saudi Arabia. Therefore, she has a unique view of the life of woman Saudi. Having traveled there nine times, although it seems exaggerated, it is not; the restrictions and mores, and values are almost alien to American eyes! The book is a murder mystery and slowly reveals itself, as a relationship builds that sustains the trilogy. I recommend this series for anyone who wants to better understand life in Saudi Arabia.

JCLEmilyW Oct 02, 2013

This fascinating story investigates the mysterious disappearance of sixteen year old Nouf in the harsh desert surrounding her city. The mystery unfolds through twists and turns that illuminate the gender-segregated, deeply religious background of modern Saudi Arabia. I couldn't put it down!

JCLJanineM Aug 19, 2013

Very interesting & revealing setting -- Saudia Arabia -- with solid whodunnit plot. Provides an intimate look at parts of Saudi / Muslim society while keeping reader involved in solving mystery.

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