Megan Harlan
August 15, 1997 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Eight Months On Ghazzah Street

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Hilary Mantel
genre
Fiction

We gave it an A-

Thirtyish cartographer Frances Shore knew that ”women’s decisions did not operate” in fundamentalist Islamic Saudi Arabia, where she nevertheless moves with her husband on a lucrative construction project. But legally forbidden to work, drive, or travel alone, Frances starts losing her sense of self. The stifling atmosphere turns menacing when she hears sobbing in the vacant upstairs apartment — and her polite Arab neighbors and hard-partying expat acquaintances tell her she is imagining the sounds. Hilary Mantel intertwines a violent conspiracy tale in Eight Months on Ghazzah Street with a nuanced psychological portrait of a woman learning to trust her own eyes and ears. A-

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