Cover image for Sandstorms : days and nights in Arabia
Sandstorms : days and nights in Arabia
Theroux, Peter.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Norton, 1990.
Physical Description:
281 pages ; 22 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DS49.7 .T48 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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"[A] stunningly candid portrait of culture and politics in the Middle East." -Los Angeles Times Book Review

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Drawn to Arabia by the allure of mystery, magic, and other sexy fantasies, Theroux began his career in Cairo teaching English and then turned journalist, albeit a reluctant one. His fluency in Arabic landed him a job as bureau chief for an English-language newspaper in Riyadh, the insular capital where his mail was censored and his phones tapped. His real interests were not in his official field of business news, but rather in the many facets of Arabian society where religion governs every aspect of life and petrowealth has distorted old systems. Theroux has a good ear for conversation and a flair for colorful language and humor. Sensitive to the inadequacies of generalizations, he concentrates on particulars. The result is a tangy blend of good-natured cynicism and curiosity. This memoir is brimming with vivid sketches of life in a volatile, often contradictory, ever-intriguing culture. --Donna Seaman

Library Journal Review

Theroux recounts his experiences in the Middle East of the 1980s. The author went to Egypt to teach English and wound up chronicling the disappearance of Lebanon's Shia Iman Moussa Sadr. But Sandstorms is the human side of an American in Arabia: swapping dirty jokes, drinking till all hours in dirty cafes, reading Saudi literature to try to touch the Arabian soul, looking back at American literature with loathing after reading Uris's The Haj, wending his way to the Damascus airport through a massive jam of manic Syrian drivers--and hoping the traffic would last. Theroux's Arabia is rough but undeniably real, poignant and elemental. Those who have lived in the Middle East for a time will hear echoes of their sojourn, and those who want to know what it's like will learn from Sandstorms. Strongly recommended for most libraries. For another view of the same area, see Chrisopher Dickey's Expats: Travels in Arabia, from Tripoli to Tehran, reviewed in this issue, above.--Ed.--David P. Snider, Casa Grande P . L . , Ariz. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.