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Talking About Jane Austen in Baghdad: The True Story of an Unlikely Friendship Paperback – 4 Feb 2010
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About the Author
Bee Rowlatt is a former show-girl turned BBC World Service journalist. A mother of three and would-be do-gooder, she can find keeping her career going while caring for her three daughters (and husband) pretty tough, even in leafy North London.
May Witwit is an Iraqi expert in Chaucer and sender of emails depicting kittens in fancy dress. She is prepared to face every hazard imaginable to make that all-important hairdresser's appointment.
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However, the title is misleading (there is just a very tiny reference to Jane Austen in the book, and the literary theme in general is secondary) and editing could be much better: often, there is mention of a particular event in a email and no reference/answer to it in the next, which was often frustrating.
This book showed a stark difference between the lives of the two women. Bee has three children and has the usual concerns of juggling work, marriage and family. May, however, tells in her emails of life living in Baghdad after the invasion and after Saddam Hussein has been overthrown. She writes of bombs, assassinations and shootings.
I started off not knowing if I would find this book a little boring, but I soon got into it and enjoyed reading about the women's lives. Bee decides to assist May in getting her and her husband out of Baghdad and over to England and the ending of the book actually moved me to tears.
Despite it being a normal email correspondence, with all the trivial details that friends often write to each other, I found this to be the sort of book where I wanted to read just another email, and then just another. It's very readable and I enjoyed it very much.
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Most recent customer reviews
I laughed and cryed as the story teller read the emails between these two women.Read more
It comprises the email exchanges of a London journalist and an Iraqi academic, which may or may not be...Read more