Small Kingdoms

Anastasia Hobbet, Author . Permanent $29 (344p) ISBN 978-1-57962-191-9

Hobbet's compelling novel is set in Kuwait between the Gulf Wars, with the country poised for the next wave of unexpected terror while coming to grips with the last: “He'd expected to see some scars of the war. But there was nothing that spoke of the violence, not even a tank posed as a public memorial.” Hobbet's disparate protagonists come from different classes, countries and faiths: devoutly Muslim, wealthy Mufeeda; her young Indian cook, Emmanuella; California doctor Theo; Theo's Arabic teacher, Hanaan (a Palestinian); and timid American housewife Kit (also Mufeeda's neighbor). Each character is, to varying degrees, a misfit in a society beset by violence and ancient practices. When news of murdered maids begins circulating, several characters undertake a precarious plan to save a maid in danger, a dangerous mission with the potential to change all their lives permanently. Hobbet's extensive knowledge of Kuwait's people, customs and political landscape combine to make an immersive, authentic novel about Middle East life. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 09/21/2009
Release date: 01/01/2010
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