Florence of Arabia: A Novel and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
  • List Price: $15.00
  • Save: $4.74 (32%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 7 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Used: Very Good | Details
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: A well-cared-for item that has seen limited use but remains in great condition. The item is complete, unmarked, and undamaged, but may show some limited signs of wear. Item works perfectly.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Florence of Arabia: A Novel Paperback – September 13, 2005

See all 13 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
$3.16 $0.01

Frequently Bought Together

Florence of Arabia: A Novel + Dreams of Trespass: Tales of a Harem Girlhood
Price for both: $23.76

Buy the selected items together

Holiday Deals in Books
Holiday Deals in Books
Find deals for every reader in the Holiday Deals in Books store, featuring savings of up to 50% on cookbooks, children's books, literature & fiction, and more.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks; Reprint edition (September 13, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812972260
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812972269
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #669,139 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

One has to admire the pluck of an author who dares satirize what may be the touchiest subject in the country today: Arab American relations. Buckley (No Way to Treat a First Lady, etc.) jumps into the sandstorm feet first with this tale of scrappy Florence Farfaletti, Deputy to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Near East Affairs. When a friend of Florence's who is married to Prince Bawad of Wasabia is executed, Florence proposes a plan to free the women of the Middle East. Covertly accepted by the U. S. Government, the plan involves creating a TV station in Wasabia's neighboring country, Matar, which instigates a revolution with broadcasts that, among other things, encourage women to throw off their burkas. Humor and action are in great supply, and reader Kalember (whom 40-somethings may remember as Susannah Hart from the series Thirtysomething) handles both with aplomb. The serene stability of her voice is a good foil for the story's calamitous happenings but, at the same time, her voice conveys a certain vulnerability and righteousness that makes her portrayal of Florence completely believable. As an added bonus, Kalember's delivery of the English-as-a-second-language Arab characters is both sympathetic and hilarious.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

The bestselling author who made mincemeat of political correctness in Thank You for Smoking, conspiracy theories in Little Green Men, and Presidential indiscretions No Way to Treat a First Lady now takes on the hottest topic in the entire world–Arab-American relations–in a blistering comic novel sure to offend the few it doesn't delight.

Appalled by the punishment of her rebellious friend Nazrah, youngest and most petulant wife of Prince Bawad of Wasabia, Florence Farfarletti decides to draw a line in the sand. As Deputy to the deputy assistant secretary for Near East Affairs, Florence invents a far-reaching, wide-ranging plan for female emancipation in that part of the world.

The U.S. government, of course, tells her to forget it. Publicly, that is. Privately, she's enlisted in a top-secret mission to impose equal rights for the sexes on the small emirate of Matar (pronounced "Mutter"), the "Switzerland of the Persian Gulf." Her crack team: a CIA killer, a snappy PR man, and a brilliant but frustrated gay bureaucrat. Her weapon: TV shows.

The lineup on TV Matar includes A Thousand and One Mornings, a daytime talk show that features self-defense tips to be used against boyfriends during Ramadan; an addictive soap opera featuring strangely familiar members of the Matar royal family; and a sitcom about an inept but ruthless squad of religious police, pitched as "Friends from Hell."

The result: the first deadly car bombs in the country since 1936, a fatwa against the station's entire staff, a struggle for control of the kingdom, and, of course, interference from the French. And that's only the beginning.

A merciless dismantling of both American ineptitude and Arabic intolerance, Florence of Arabia is Christopher Buckley's funniest and most serious novel yet, a biting satire of how U.S. good intentions can cause the Shiite to hit the fan.

From the Hardcover edition. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Christopher Buckley was born in New York City in 1952. He was educated at Portsmouth Abbey, worked on a Norwegian tramp freighter and graduated cum laude from Yale. At age 24 he was managing editor of "Esquire" magazine; at 29, chief speechwriter to the Vice President of the United States, George H.W. Bush. He was the founding editor of "Forbes FYI" magazine (now "ForbesLife"), where he is now editor-at-large.

He is the author of fifteen books, which have translated into sixteen languages. They include: "Steaming To Bamboola," "The White House Mess," "Wet Work," "God Is My Broker," "Little Green Men," "No Way To Treat a First Lady," "Florence of Arabia," "Boomsday," "Supreme Courtship," "Losing Mum And Pup: A Memoir," and "Thank You For Smoking," which was made into a movie in 2005. Most have been named "New York Times" Notable Books of the Year. His most recent novel is "They Eat Puppies, Don't They?"

He has written for "The New York Times," "Washington Post," "Wall Street Journal," "The New Yorker," "Atlantic Monthly," "Time," "Newsweek," "Vanity Fair," "National Geographic," "New York Magazine," "The Washington Monthly," "Forbes," "Esquire," "Vogue," "Daily Beast," and other publications.

He received the Washington Irving Prize for Literary Excellence and the Thurber Prize for American Humor. He lives in Connecticut.

Customer Reviews

I laughed out loud several times while reading this.
Roger Long
His combination of sarcasm, satire, and political savvy make his books required reading for anyone who considers himself a student of current affairs or politics.
Scott Schiefelbein
Buckley does an excellent job providing his protagonist, Florence Farfalleti, with depth, intelligence, humor, and integrity.
Adam Mantell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Carroll VINE VOICE on January 2, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This was a quick fun read about a US State Department employee turned Agent Provocateur (yes, the French play a role) in a thinly-fictionalized Middle East.

I won't cover the plot points because I don't want to spoil the surprise. Suffice it that I laughed out loud when I saw the title in the "New Releases" section at B&N, read the first couple of chapters, bought it, and read it in an evening - laughing most of the way (there are some sad parts, but there are more outrageously funny ones.)
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By John R. Linnell on December 25, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Those who do not like this satrical novel, probably take themselves and their view of the world too seriously. Christopher Buckley has the gift of taking a situation and writing about it in a compelling and entertaining way which delivers more truth than fiction, often to the discomfort of those whose toes are trod on the hardest.

A character in the book, referred to as Uncle Sam, sums up the situation that has been created well into the book quite neatly when he opines: "As I recall, the mission was to empower Arab women and bring about some kind of stability in the Middle East. There were those who said, 'Are you out of your mind?' Others said, 'We've tried everything else, why not give it a shot? What harm can it do??" Ha! And how did it all turn out? With a coup detat - and how appropriate to use the French term for it - against the only stable country in the region. Not only did it not work, but it brought about the further enslavement of two point five million Arab women, along with the empwerment of a psychotic race-car driver, to say nothing of a whopping increase in Wasabi oil prices that may well determine the outcome of the next presidential election. And did I mention France getting naval bases in the Gulf?

And that's far from the end of the story.

It's a fun ride and done so very well. Hop on and enjoy the trip.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Pizza Quixote on July 10, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I sought this book because Buckley is my favorite author. I began with "Thank You For Smoking" and then read all of his works. Until this tome, only "Little Green Men" matched the superb wit and wordplay of TYFS.

This may be Buckley's best work yet. While I read it for the laughs, this novel is both informative and persuasive on the political circumstances of the middle east. Moreso than any editorial or talking head, this book demonstrates both the madness of the sheiks and playboy princes of the middle east, not to mention the mullahs, but also the futility of western intervention.

In the final analysis, this book may stand alongside Gulliver's Travels in the annals of great satire.

Brilliant, and I can't wait for Buckley's next work.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Joey Morgan on April 6, 2006
Format: Paperback
I got this book because I enjoyed "No Way to Treat a First Lady". As I listened to it in my car, I must have gasped, sniggered, chuckled, snorted and laughed out loud often enough to make the drivers in the next lane wonder if I needed any special medication. This book is witty, entertaining, and like all the best satire, provides an all-too accurate look at some of the crimes and foibles of our past and present. The plot utterly fails to be predictable, the humor is twice as funny because you know IT REALLY COULD HAPPEN EXACTLY THIS WAY!

The excellent narration on the audio version added even more to the enjoyment, as the reader had a voice for every character and there was never any doubt who was speaking.

An excellent read or listen, not to be missed by those who appreciate political humor and satire.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Price on October 2, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Christopher Buckley is a satirist extraordinaire, but what really separates him from others is the way he blends so much truth into his farce. For a novel that involves two fictional Middle Eastern countries, an exploding camel, and a twisted sitcom called "Mukfellahs," Buckley weaves in enough detailed reality to fill a documentary. Without preaching or demonizing, he makes several salient points about the treatment of women in Arab and Muslim society, and the tangled, co-dependent relationship the oil-powered world has with the Middle East. (Jingoists can relax. In Buckley's story, France gets it worse than the good old U.S. of A.)

Underlying truths aside, "Florence of Arabia" has the most detailed, sympathetic and ultimately hysterical cast of characters than any of Buckley's previous novels. The friendship between Florence and Laila was particularly well-done (I found it much more resonant than the somewhat underdeveloped romance between Florence and a rogue CIA agent).

All in all, fans of Buckley will be far from disappointed. Fans of humor and action (there's a LOT of action in this book) will definitely enjoy it. Fans of the Carlyle Group, however, might find this story a whole different mutter.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Tim on December 24, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Buckley again proves his great talent as a satirist. This is far better than "Thank You for Smoking" and a little better than " Little Green Men" both of which, were great. By the way the incident of the religious police shoving the female students back into the burning building is true. Despite the fact that this book is based on the truth some of it quite tragic ,as the above incident, Buckley manages to to make this great fun and a terrific read.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?