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From Dunes to Dior by [Rajakumar, Mohanalakshmi]
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From Dunes to Dior Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Length: 100 pages Word Wise: Enabled

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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 322 KB
  • Print Length: 100 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0083AJ294
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #472,055 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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I read the other reviews with a touch of disbelief. I looked forward to reading this book because I also lived in Doha, but 30 years ago when, according to the author, the Qataris were still living in tents. Not so at all. Four decades ago it had been a fishing village, but when I lived there in 1979 the city was under way. There were two well established quality hotels with the third almost finished. Ras Abu Fontas power station was fully operational and the hospital was well established, as were local walk-in polyclinics. There was a beautiful park and the dual carriageways were planted with avenues of oleander. The government had also embarked on a programme of giving away plants for people to make lovely gardens. Hardly a place where people were still living in tents! Nonetheless I was keen to read on and discover how Qatar had developed in the intervening years. I gave up by chapter five when I discovered this was a book almost exclusively about the author written in a rambling fashion which was very hard to engage with.
A huge disappointment.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I am an archaeology graduate. All I know of Qatar is that a lot of people I've met on excavations have worked out there - and that is the shameful extent of my knowledge. I felt that I really should know more about the country, since there seems to be a lot of archaeology going on there: hence my choice of reading From Dunes to Dior over Love Comes Later, plus the fact that I really enjoy memoirs.

Mohana sets up the perfect introduction for those who, like me, know absolutely nothing of Qatar - yet she avoids the easy mistake of giving us too much detailed information at once. An interesting mix of demographics, geography and history combined with a fluid writing style make for an easy-to-read background of the country, that doesn't read anything like a textbook despite all the facts and numbers. Whilst the topics covered are 'basic', this doesn't mean they are any less interesting - Mohana has a true talent for discussing everyday occurrences and creating a real story out of them.

It is fascinating just how multi-cultural Qatar actually is - Qataris are a minority in their own country - despite the strict citizenship laws (which are reminiscent of ancient Rome, pre-Caracalla). Mohana clearly points out and dismisses stereotypes, yet her essays show that racism is still quite evident, which is sad in this day and age.

A mix of serious and light-hearted essays balance the book out - I particularly enjoyed a humorous one on Dunkin' Doughnuts. Mohana is a strong woman, making a life for herself in a country that alienates her for many reasons; her book is an intriguing study of cultural stereotypes and the mixing of cultures, as well as a brilliant introduction to Qatar. I did notice a few spelling errors, but nothing too major.
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Format: Kindle Edition
As a female South Asian American living in the Arabian Gulf, Mohana is ideally placed to open our minds to the subtle prejudices that help us simplify our complex world. From Dunes to Dior is an engaging view of how it feels to live in one of the fastest changing countries in the world. Mohana describes Qatar as `one the smallest and safest countries in the world, an oasis of calm smack dab in the global hotspot of the Middle East.'

Mohana travelled to Qatar (a country the size of the U.S. state of Connecticut) in 2005 to support one of the American universities setting up a branch campus in the capital Doha. Her story of establishing a life and career in the Arabian Desert is shared by thousands of immigrants who have relocated to the rapidly developing country, as many of the people living in Qatar are expatriate workers of multiple nationalities, including migrant workers from across South Asia to American and European professionals.

I was surprised at how little I knew about Qatar, although the tragic recent mall fire had brought the country back into the news. In our haste to get on with our lives it is all too easy to think Qatar must be a bit like Dubai - in the same way that Mohana found that people were constantly finding quick ways to `categorise' her.

Refreshingly positive about this ignorance, Mohana recalls she was made to feel rare, strange, special, and unique at middle and high school in North Florida. At college in North Carolina she felt `like a fly in a glass of milk' an anomaly. In Qatar has name advertises that she comes from India - but her Sri Lankan features cause confusion.
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