Due to heartache Irish Aisling Finn travels to the colourful world of the Arabian desert where life is exuberant and dangerous amidst the 2011 revolutions …
In Dublin, Aisling met the Professor (Prof) for the first time and for Aisling his answer to her question “where are you from” is unforgettable, “I was born in a book.” This was the beginning of a friendship between the student and lecturer on, among other topics, neurology and Persian poetry. Their love for poetry bound their friendship until His Highness, Sheik Fariq, ordered the Prof to come home and start working on health reforms, a “great honour that could not be refused.” After a painful parting, Aisling is only too happy to follow the Prof and work for him as a media strategist for the new free community health clinics, funded by Sheik Fariq. It is the Sheik’s belief that this is the only way to alleviate the devastating WHO statistics on health in the Arabic world.
After a long and exhausting flight, Aisling finds herself in the Arabian desert where she is scrutinised before even entering the country. No one is there to welcome here and Aisling feels lost between the male crowd for whom she is like ‘liquid gold.’ Then Angie saves her and teaches Aisling her first lesson in how to behave in the Middle East before she is whisked off to a bar. The adventure continues the next day when Aisling is shown her office and at work is nothing what it seems. There is buoyant Mozah, the exotic beauty who ignores her Libyan background and loves to mingle with the expats. There is Aisling’s interpreter Laila, a modest beauty who is a devoted Muslima and voluntarily dresses in a niqab to avoid unwanted male attention. And .. there is love: South-African Brian who works for a company named Rex Consulting but what exactly does he do? Aisling has no idea but she presumes it involves schemes and finances and … Then the protests begin and once again, the situation in the Middle East is highly flammable as the Arab Spring is about to unfold … Follow Aisling into the Electric Souk and the Arabic desert on an atmospheric and captivating adventure into the colourful and fascinating world of the Middle East!
The story is a whirlwind of events, of colourful characters, deceit and (fake) friendships, of alcoholic parties and Islamic law set against Arabic Spring in 2011. If you think this is an easy novel – think again. The book forces you to focus and remember who is who because, just like life in the Arabian desert felt to Aisling when she came there, it is an overwhelming tale of living in extreme circumstances, of completely losing yourself but at the same time be vigilant because the law is bendable and strict at the same time. I had difficulty getting into the story, again like Aisling. The mix of Western and Middle-Eastern life can be too much but at the same time, it is an opportunity to gain insight into living in the Arabian desert. You simply have to read the book yourself which also includes the universal topics of love and betrayal, of coping with loss and society’s inequality. Only Electric Souk is so much more exciting!
About the AuthorRose McGinty was born with itchy feet, which she has yet to decide is a blessing or a curse. Certainly, surviving Hurricane Sandy, an earthquake, a spider bite, jumping 192 metres off the Sky Tower in Auckland, and nearly being arrested for inadvertently smuggling a rocket in Vietnam, make her wonder about locking up her passport. But then, it was her adventures in the Middle East that gave her the itchy fingers to write. Rose lives in Kent, where as well as enjoying writing short stories, flash fiction and poetry, she also paints. She works in community health services and has worked overseas in Ireland, Canada, Sweden and the Middle East. In 2015, she completed the Faber Academy ‘Writing a Novel’ course under the guidance of Richard Skinner. Of this debut novel, Rose says “The parts of the story that are true, I probably wish were not while the parts that are not, I wish were true.”
|Publisher||Urbane Publications (23 Mar. 2017)|