Friday, September 09, 2011

Sweet Dates in Basra by Jessica Jiji

Synopsis from

Just when her family should be arranging her marriage, Kathmiya Mahmoud, a young Marsh Arab maiden, is sent from her home in Iraq's idyllic countryside to the unfamiliar city of Basra, where she must survive on her paltry earnings as a servant. Her only asset her exquisite beauty brings more peril than peace. Worse, her mother appears to be keeping a secret about her own mysterious past, one that could threaten Kathmiya's destiny forever.

In this lost Iraq of the 1940s, a time of rich traditions and converging worlds, Kathmiya meets Shafiq, a Jewish boy whose brotherhood with his Muslim neighbor Omar proves that religion is no barrier to friendship. But in a world where loss of honor is punishable by death, the closeness that grows between Kathmiya and Shafiq becomes dangerous as a doomed love takes root. When British warplanes begin bombing Iraq and the country's long-simmering tensions explode, the power of an unbreakable boyhood bond and a transcendent love must overcome the deepening fractures of a collapsing society.

Set during the tumultuous years surrounding the Second World War, Sweet Dates in Basra is the redemptive story of two very different cultures, and a powerful reminder that no walls can confine the human spirit.

My Comments:

I finds that this books is very refreshing from the ones that I usually read. The story here is about young loves and the frustration in life where their love is forbidden.

Am quite surprised that the character, Kathmiya, is quite relax. No terrible torture nor gory involved. Hence, I find this to be a rather fun read. It might have spicy up the story if the hero and heroine got captured and was tortured till half dead. But most of the book about Iraq and Iran have things like that already. Now it had become too common. And at times it makes me feel depressed.

What was written in this book is mostly about Kathmiya emotional life. How she feel and stuffs like that. I can feel sad without being depressed about it.

I like how the author brought Kathmiya to life. Not only that she have her strenght but also portray her weaknesses.

However, there are still room for improvement. I hope I can get my hands on the author's first novel "Diamonds Takes Forever".


cleffairy said...

I've heard about this book. A friend says it's a nice read...but I wasn't so sure, cuz it sounded more like 'Helen of Troy' story-an Arab version of it.

Hidayah Ismawi said...

Almost bought this on my last BookXcess trip but was also worried that it would be a depressing read. Maybe will get it on my next trip. Dunno when that'll be.

Small Kucing said...


Nah...not like Helen of Troy. Totally different

Small Kucing said...


coming for the Big Bad Wolf Sale?

May said...

Thanks for the book review and it sounds interesting. I love to read, hope i find it around here. Wishing you a great week.

Small Kucing said...


yay! another friend who loves to read :)


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