Dubai Tales

Muhammad Murr, Author Forest Books $0 (154p) ISBN 978-0-948259-86-9
Each of these 21 stories delves briefly into the homes and relationships of the people of Dubai, a wealthy Arab emirate, where rampant materialism and hypocrisy have invaded peaceful domesticity. In ``A Study Course'' and in ``Fear,'' newlyweds successfully deceive their spouses with extramarital loves. ``A Late Dinner'' shows the dissipation of a wife's irritation at the nightly return of her drunken husband and his untimely demands for meals as she recalls his valuable gifts to her and her own enjoyment of his gossipy anecdotes. Al Murr's strength is his ability to create situations for a wide variety of characters with an economy of words, a generous sense of humor and fresh, precise detail. Yet the humor is cut with irony, and O. Henry-like plot shifts most often show the characters to be foolish or naive. In ``Pepsi,'' for example, lame Farhan wishes to enter his camel in a race and win 100,000 dirhams; when the camel too is crippled in an accident, Farhan is content that the animal has survived. Al Murr's characters and situations are compelling, but the stories' snippet-like length and insistence on plot reversal leave little room for real insight. (July)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
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