Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Triple Time by Anne Sanow

What a great pleasure to discover that someone is as beautiful on the inside as they are on the outside.  Anne Sanow, former fellow of the Fine Arts Work Center and winner of the 2009 Drue Heinz Literature Prize, has written a beautiful and moving book and I recommend it to everyone.

Triple Time is a collection of linked short stories about the lives of expatriate Americans in Saudi Arabia spanning World War II to the present.

Kimberly appears several times, as a young girl with a father working as a construction contractor; later as a young American woman testing the limits of Saudi law, constrained by the highly restrictive and yet radically modernizing Arab society; and finally as a woman who has entered into a traditional Saudi polygamist relationship that is for her also a revolutionary rejection of her culture and roots.  With the most beautifully tender prose, Sanow captures the confusion and contradictions of Americans in a land that is strange to them.  For an American reader, the questions seem to bounce off each other.  Who is more different, more strange?  The nomadic Arabs adopting the most modern of Western conventions, or Westerners who arrive in this modernizing place that is still bound up in layers of tradition?

What a beautiful book from a beautiful writer, inside and out.

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