From Publishers Weekly
Addonia's bold debut is more compelling as an indictment of the repressiveness of Saudi Arabia's Wahhabism than as a love story. In 1979, Naser's mother arranges for him and his brother, Ibrahim, to be smuggled from a Sudanese refugee camp into Jeddah and the care of a fundamentalist uncle. Naser learns to despise and fear the hate-mongering local imam, merciless religious police and powerful men who lust after boys with impunity. He never stops feeling homesick for his mother and her friends or frustrated by the Saudi's strict segregation of the sexes, and when a young woman drops a love letter at his feet, he's quickly smitten. The girl he calls Fiore (flower) is bold, passing him notes and wearing pink shoes to be recognizable in her abaya. Addonia's prose, unfortunately, loses credibility when he describes their passion. Both lovers risk public flogging or even execution, but neither doubts their relationship's correctness. The consequences they fear are of daring to love in a society dominated by hatred of foreigners, nonbelievers, women and often of love itself. Addonia's troubling revelations make for thought-provoking reading.
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"A gorgeous, slow-burning love story . . . touching, infinitely plausible, and infused with a brooding sensuality."
--Joanne Harris, author of "Chocolat"