Literature from the Arab world is generally full of a sharp and satiric wit that is sometimes lacking in American literature. The authors are not afraid to put a mirror on society; and this book is no exception. This is a very dark, very sharp look at modern day Saudi society in the city of Jeddah. It follows the life of Tariq as he grows up with his friends and family in the poor part of town. A place that is not rich, but people have jobs, and they live near the ocean and have a community. Then, one day a giant Palace is built and it blocks out the neighborhood and cuts off the beach. In a sense, it annihilates the sense of community because all can anyone think about is the Palace. Tariq eventually serves in the Palace, but he is despondent at what he sees–the lavish lifestyles, the hypocrisy. He comes to the realization to escape he must kill his Master and become his own man.
This is not the easiest book to read and it does take a little bit to get started. But, it is an interesting ride into the underbelly of Saudi society.
Abdo Khal, Maia Tabet, Translator, Michael K. Scott, Translator