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Publisher's Summary

In her debut novel, Rajaa Alsanea reveals the social, romantic, and sexual tribulations of four young women from the elite classes of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Originally released in Arabic in 2005, the novel was immediately banned in Saudi Arabia because of the controversial and inflammatory content, though black-market copies circulated widely. The daring originality of Girls of Riyadh continues to create a firestorm all over the Arab world, and the excitement has spread far beyond the Middle East. While this novel offers a distinctly Arab voice, it also represents the mongrel culture and language of a globalized world, reflecting the way the Arab world is being changed by new economic and political realities. Riyadh is the larger setting of the novel, but the characters travel all over the world shedding traditional garb as they literally and figuratively cross over into Western society. These women understand the Western worldview and experiment with reconciling pieces of it with their own. This groundbreaking novel might be the very first that opens up their world to us - their culture, their struggles, their frustrations, their hopes, and their beliefs. With Girls of Riyadh, Rajaa Alsanea gives us a rare and unforgettable insight into the complicated lives of these young Saudi women, whose amazing stories are unfolding in a culture so very different from our own.
©2007 Rajaa Alsanea; (P)2007 Penguin Audio, a member of Penguin Group (USA), Inc. and Books on Tape. All rights reserved.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Kathy Daniels on 09-07-07

Fantastic Book

My husband and I are on our way to Saudi as he has accepted a job with ARAMCO. I have begun to read and listen to every book that I can get my hands on to understand their culture. This has been on that I have truly enjoyed. You are allowed to follow these 4 friends through their lives with much emotion. I find myself cheering for them and hoping for different endings to their real-life story. The narrator has a pleasant tone that she changes with the characters. I think this book would have been more difficult to read than to listen to as she pronounces the arabic phrases and translates them for you in the correct pronunciation. You will not regret this purchase.

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16 of 16 people found this review helpful


By Carroll on 09-08-11

Essential if you work in the KSA

This was amazingly helpful for me to understand the social issues of working with Saudi's.. great examples of the various challenges in this culture.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Mr on 05-15-16

Arabian Austen?

This is like an Austen tale for the Middle East. It is gossipy and full of trials and trivialities for the women and their paths into love. There is such a formality in the contracts of getting married and a code of honour to society life, but like most of Austen it becomes little more than background noise for me.

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0 of 1 people found this review helpful


By Suzduz on 11-20-15

awful

sorry but this story never got going and was messy with uninteresting themes I persevered but gave up in the end

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0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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