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Florence of Arabia: A Novel Paperback – September 13, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
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
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
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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The usual Buckley fun and over the top humor coupled with a sharp look at middle eastern society. If you want to better understand what is happening in the middle east and the... Read morePublished 7 days ago by Larry Emmott
I am stubborn, so I actually finished reading this book. Now I admit: it was a terrible waste of time. Terrible plot, it is not Mr. Buckley's best day. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Harro
christopher buckley writes very humorous political satire. they are short and very entertaining, with only a mild dose of a political message underneath. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Allan Mishan
I love satire and Christopher Buckley is one of the best at writing it.Published 15 months ago by Jodie Golding
This is the complete review as it appears <a href="http://ianwoodnovellum.blogspot.com/2014/08/florence-of-arabia-by-christopher. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Amazon Customer
I love Christopher Buckley's work, and immensely enjoyed this book. He manages to deal with some pretty serious/grim topics without losing his ability to make readers laugh... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Burgundy Damsel
This is another fun book by Buckley, though the issues he touches on are very serious, especially the treatment of women as equals in the Middle East. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Brad Howes