From Publishers Weekly
Three tales of Arab outcasts make up this fresh-voiced debut novel by Saudi Arabian author Al-Mohaimeed. A one-eared Bedouin tribesman named Turad quits his humiliating 13-year job as a low-level ministry servant and ends up at the Riyadh bus station with a plan to flee, but no destination in mind. While he figures out where he wants to go, two additional voices join the narrative. One is the memory of Turad's elderly co-worker at the ministry, Tawfiq, whose sad story begins when he was a child and his Sudanese village was attacked by slave traders. Tawfiq was later captured, raped, castrated and performed the services of a eunuch until he grew too old to be of use. The other voice is from a discarded official file Turad finds at the bus station. It involves a one-eyed orphan named Nasir, who is sexually abused by the staff at the orphanage where he grows up and is eventually denied his ambition of becoming a soldier. Al-Mohaimeed's work, assisted by Calderbank's faultless translation, beautifully captures the frustrations and resentments of his tormented characters. (Jan.)
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"At last an authentic voice from Saudi Arabia."
-Hanan al-Shaykh, author of Women of Sand and Myrrh
"Brave and brilliant . . . A novel that sneaks up on you with its power to make you see, hear, and live the complexities of another world."
-Uzodinma Iweala, author of Beasts of No Nation
"An irresistible novel."
-Nuruddin Farah, author of Links and Knots