Eight Months on Ghazzah Street Hardcover – 28 Apr 1988
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‘Horrifyingly gripping. It urges the reader to suspend normal life entirely until the book is read.' Grace Ingoldby, Sunday Times
'A peculiar fear emanates from this narrative: I dread to think what it did to the writer herself.' Anita Brookner, Spectator
'A Middle Eastern Turn of the Screw with an insidious power to grip.' Robert Irwin, Time Out
'A memorably appalled and hellishly funny novel.' Christopher Wordsworth, Guardian
'A stunning Orwellian nightmare.' Literary Review--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
About the Author
Hilary Mantel is the author of thirteen books , including A PLACE OF GREATER SAFETY, BEYOND BLACK, and the memoir GIVING UP THE GHOST. Her two most recent novels, WOLF HALL and its sequel BRING UP THE BODIES have both been awarded The Man Booker Prize – an unprecedented achievement.--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Bored and frustrated, she is unable to discover what is really happening in the "empty" flat upstairs, unable to understand the lives which her devoutly Muslim female neighbors accept as completely normal, and so overwhelmed that she wonders, "Am I visible?" And that, perhaps, is the point. She IS visible in a heavily veiled world, destined never to comprehend fully either the daily lives or culture of her hosts, a culture within which she has tried, unsuccessfully, to maintain her own values.
The ending of the novel is full of mystery, as much a mystery as the events Fran has encountered in the eight months she has spent on Ghazzah Street. She is forced to accept at last the comment of an Arab acquaintance, "The Kindgom is not a logical world, and besides, logic is not an ornament of young ladies." Mary Whipple
This novel is a tour de force. Hilary Mantel lived in Jeddah for four years and wrote Eight Months on Ghazzah Street only when she got home to London. She is quoted in an interview in the Guardian as saying that the day she flew out of Saudi was the happiest day of her life.
The novel is about a young English couple who move to Saudi to work and make more money than they could realistically make anywhere else. Frances and her husband, Andrew, are not able to get into one of the foreigners' compounds when he goes to work on a new ministry building in Jeddah and instead are installed in a company flat in an apartment block along one of the main roads. On her very first day Andrew, who had arrived three months earlier, locks her into the apartment when he goes out to the site in the morning for her own protection. Her sense of isolation and alienation become palpable with the description of her endless days of nothingness. Her choices seem to be between staying in a blank apartment watching Saudi religious television or venturing outside into the blazing heat where she has to fend off the unreconstructed attitudes, leers and menacing catcalls of men driving by who consider unveiled Western women to be ‘available’.Read more ›
And the most haunting final coup de grace: the very first page, the date on the company memo...am not going to spoil the book for you but please read it and pay attention to it - then relate it back to the last chapter once you have read it....a terrible thought will dawn on you...poor Frances and Andrew...
Hilary Mantel delivers in spades. I thought her short stories were brilliant, now I find her novels breathtaking. I will keep on savouring her every written word. A must read, thoroughly recommended if you like your mystery novels with suspense, good plot and characterisation.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
What a stupidly bad writer! Anyone who has ever lived in the Middle East could write this drivel. Why is she so popular? Read morePublished 10 hours ago by Mrs. G. Johnston
I like Hilary Mantel as a writer, this was not her best story but I liked it because having spent three years living in Jeddah at about the same time as the story was set I could... Read morePublished 3 months ago by P King
Good strong story. Book condition in worse condition than expected from description.Published 6 months ago by kay Cartwright
Fascinating book about expat life in Saudi Arabia. Written in such a way that you feel as if you are living in a claustrophobic world.Published 8 months ago by R. Lewis