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From Dunes to Dior Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Length: 100 pages

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Product Details

  • File Size: 322 KB
  • Print Length: 100 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publication Date: January 11, 2014
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0083AJ294
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #141,060 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar's award winning books have focused on various aspects of life in the Arabian Gulf nation of Qatar. From Dunes to Dior is a collection of essays related to her experiences as a female South Asian American living in the Arabian Gulf and named as Indie Book of the Day in 2013. Love Comes Later is a literary romance set in Qatar and London and was the winner of the Best Indie Book Award for Romance in 2013, short listed for the New Talent award by the Festival of Romance, and Best Novel Finalist in eFestival of Words, 2013. She currently lives with her family in Qatar, where she teaches writing and literature courses at American universities.

After she joined the e-book revolution, Mohana dreams in plotlines. Learn more about her work on her website at or follow her latest on Twitter: @moha_doha.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
Which country in the Middle East is safe and hip and quirky? How does an ex-pat survive in a world completely unlike anything they know? Mo is one of those rare joyful writers who will walk with you through these answers. Her writing will pull you to the other side of the world, whether or not you've ever considered it deeply before. You'll embark on this adventure with her as she tells you, "I first heard about the kidney--shaped country of Qatar..."

Soon you'll be hooked and she'll pull you into this tiny Middle Eastern place with wit and love. For example, on the wonderful mix of cultural juxtapositions she makes the observation, "...between gorging on McDonald's and fasting during Ramadan, flashing Gucci shoes but covering your hair..."

Later, you'll delve into her intriguing experience with having a child abroad and she'll draw you into her world and her experience by telling you, "A person's exterior is the first frame of reference here. And if you do not fit into one neat category of race, as our son so effortlessly fails to do, then many of your interactions with strangers will be the fodder of endless conversation gaffes."

Mo is a gifted writer, but even more importantly, she is a gifted communicator. Her observations are timeless for any human trying to find their way abroad or at home.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Having arrived in Qatar roughly at the same time as Mohanna, and sharing similar heritage, while also having been raised in a cosmopolitan, western influenced society, I found myself drawn to the author's stories, seeing my own experiences reflected in hers. From the strange questions at home about life in the Gulf, especially the perceptions of how women are treated, to the odd looks I would get as I moved around Doha, with locals and expatriates alike trying to figure out where I came from, Mohanna reminded me that I was not alone in those experiences.
As Qatar begins to take it's place on the international stage, the curiosity of the outside world is heightened in trying to figure out this lesser-known State.
The biographical accounts are lyrical, amusing at times, but exceptionally realistic. I found myself reminiscing and reflecting on my own experiences, as I read through the anecdotes. Now that I have returned to my home country, I often find myself longing and yearning for a return to the life I had there. Perhaps the withdrawal symptoms are natural, but through this book, I had the pleasure of revisiting my second home with all the glamour it offers in the obscene wealth and dust-clouded developmental challenges expatriates face on a daily basis.
Mohanna's reflections do not sand-blast the reality but in fact provide factual and blatant accounts of the deep fissures in Qatari local and expatriate society. She paints a clear picture of the rapidly transforming views and how she has observed and participated in bridging the divides in a fun and candid manner.
This is an absolute must-read for anyone currently living in the Gulf or planning to work and live there in the future. It is the quintessential guide to cultural acclimatization to life in Qatar and "disrobes" Doha, unveiling a colorful canvas, rather than the barren desert it is thought to be.
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Format: Kindle Edition
As a female South Asian American living in the Arabian Gulf, Mohana is ideally placed to open our minds to the subtle prejudices that help us simplify our complex world. From Dunes to Dior is an engaging view of how it feels to live in one of the fastest changing countries in the world. Mohana describes Qatar as `one the smallest and safest countries in the world, an oasis of calm smack dab in the global hotspot of the Middle East.'

Mohana travelled to Qatar (a country the size of the U.S. state of Connecticut) in 2005 to support one of the American universities setting up a branch campus in the capital Doha. Her story of establishing a life and career in the Arabian Desert is shared by thousands of immigrants who have relocated to the rapidly developing country, as many of the people living in Qatar are expatriate workers of multiple nationalities, including migrant workers from across South Asia to American and European professionals.

I was surprised at how little I knew about Qatar, although the tragic recent mall fire had brought the country back into the news. In our haste to get on with our lives it is all too easy to think Qatar must be a bit like Dubai - in the same way that Mohana found that people were constantly finding quick ways to `categorise' her.

Refreshingly positive about this ignorance, Mohana recalls she was made to feel rare, strange, special, and unique at middle and high school in North Florida. At college in North Carolina she felt `like a fly in a glass of milk' an anomaly. In Qatar has name advertises that she comes from India - but her Sri Lankan features cause confusion.
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Format: Kindle Edition
What I particularly enjoyed about Dunes to Dior is the diversity of essays-- from stories about racism or wealth inequality to the author's attempt to resist Dunkin' Donuts. As a landscape, Qatar is really strange and unique. If you're a fan of travel writing or want to learn more about a tiny, oil-rich country that rarely makes the news yet is in someways a touchstone of the region as a whole, definitely give Dunes to Dior your time.
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