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The Mistress of Nothing: A Novel Hardcover – January 4, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
Based on the real Lady Duff Gordon's journey to Egypt with her maid in the mid-19th century, Pullinger's novel brings a broiling desert landscape to life through the eyes of the working classes. Maid Sally Naldrett jumps at the opportunity to travel to the Middle East with her lady, but her fairy tale grows even more exquisite when she falls in love with the lady's interpreter and guide, Omar. The blithe domestic scene takes a turn for the worse when Sally becomes pregnant, much to Lady Duff Gordon's disappointment. As Egypt's lower classes rise up against the tyrannical khedive, Sally's position grows tenuous, forcing her to fend for herself and her half-English, half-Egyptian child in Cairo, a budding tourist town quickly shedding its history. Incorporating actual quotes from the real Lady Duff Gordon's letters, and endowing Sally with tremendous character, Pullinger successfully imagines an ordinary life in extraordinary circumstances. (Jan.)
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“Tantalizing…Pullinger has done her research.…Sally’s observations…bring this lost world to life.” –The New York Times Book Review
“The book’s commitment to a historical and pragmatic voice is its true gem....A tough story of the unavoidable tragedies and celebrations that three simple, yet extraordinary, lives may yield.” -Book Page
“Explores the relationships people form across boundaries….This is a book you can’t stop thinking about.” -San Francisco Book Review
"A highly sensual evocation of place and time, Kate Pullinger’s The Mistress of Nothing is a journey down the Nile that explores the subtle complexities of power, race, class and love during the Victorian era. The book, narrated by the character of the maid, Sally Naldrett, has one of the most distinctive and memorable voices in recent literature."
~Governor General’s Jury Citation
“Endowing Sally with tremendous character, Pullinger successfully imagines an ordinary life in extraordinary circumstances.” –Publishers Weekly
“Romance and tragedy baked in the blistering oven of British morals and prejudice.” –Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“A rich, compelling novel. The story is told...so engagingly that I felt a great loss when I reached the end of the book.” –Historical Novels Review
“An interesting story, exploring relationships between mother and child, master and servant, husband and multiple wives, as well as bringing out the political climate of Egypt during the 1800s.” –The Oklahoman
“Scorchingly powerful.” –Good Housekeeping --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Wish the Egyptian words would have been explained at the end of the book---or
maybe the beginning of...Read more