FLORENCE OF ARABIA

Christopher Buckley, Author, Patricia Kalember, Read by , read by Patricia Kalember. Random House Audio $29.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-7393-1687-0

One has to admire the pluck of an author who dares satirize what may be the touchiest subject in the country today: Arab American relations. Buckley (No Way to Treat a First Lady, etc.) jumps into the sandstorm feet first with this tale of scrappy Florence Farfaletti, Deputy to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Near East Affairs. When a friend of Florence's who is married to Prince Bawad of Wasabia is executed, Florence proposes a plan to free the women of the Middle East. Covertly accepted by the U. S. Government, the plan involves creating a TV station in Wasabia's neighboring country, Matar, which instigates a revolution with broadcasts that, among other things, encourage women to throw off their burkas. Humor and action are in great supply, and reader Kalember (whom 40-somethings may remember as Susannah Hart from the series Thirtysomething ) handles both with aplomb. The serene stability of her voice is a good foil for the story's calamitous happenings but, at the same time, her voice conveys a certain vulnerability and righteousness that makes her portrayal of Florence completely believable. As an added bonus, Kalember's delivery of the English-as-a-second-language Arab characters is both sympathetic and hilarious. Simultaneous release with the Random House hardcover (Forecasts, Aug. 23). (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 11/01/2004
Release date: 09/01/2004
Genre: Audio
Prebound-Sewn - 978-1-4176-9880-6
Paperback - 253 pages - 978-0-8129-7226-9
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7393-1686-3
Hardcover - 253 pages - 978-1-4000-6223-2
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