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A Thousand Veils (2008)

by D.J. Murphy(Favorite Author)
3.82 of 5 Votes: 2
1435705319 (ISBN13: 9781435705319)
review 1: I requested this book from the author because the summary sounded so interesting; it wasn't until later that I realized it was a self-published book. On the one hand, I am surprised that Murphy has been unable to find a publisher as he has the bones of a great story and is obviously able to write. On the other hand, the opening pages alone almost convinced me not to read any further- the description of the sandstorm is as clear an example as I've ever read of overwriting. Thankfully, the use of adjectives calms down as the novel progresses and is never again as distracting as in the opening.The story here is a compelling one- journalist and poet Fatima Shihabi is forced to flee Iraq when Uday Hussein learns she has been writing subversive articles for foreign press outlets... more. Fatima, whose family connections saved her once before when her writing led to weeks of imprisonment and torture, escapes Iraq through the desert only to end up in the hands of an unfriendly Saudi officer determined to send her back to her tormenters. When she is allowed a final phone call to her brother Omar in New York, he draws in corporate lawyer Charles Sherman whose contacts in Saudi grant Fatima a reprieve.As Charles tries to work his contacts to get Fatima asylum in the U.S., they meet in France and fall in love. As Fatima's past rapidly catches up with her, she makes the momentous decision to return to her daughter in Iraq, and Charles decides to accompany her. I won't share to any more details so as to avoid spoilers, but it was at this point that I felt the story began to break down.I felt the love story between Fatima and Charles was an unnecessary complication, and everything that happened after they returned to Iraq was the kind of unrealistic series of events usually only seen on 24. I felt the adventure aspect of the story was forced, and definitely didn't require the day by day chapter breakdowns. I found the book long, and definitely thought the narrative lagged, especially in the philosophical conversations between Charles and Fatima. In my opinion, Murphy has a strong storyline in this book, and I am surprised he hasn't made a sale to mainstream publisher. Right now the novel is part adventure story, part love story, part condemnation of U.S. immigration policy, part attempt to bridge the gap between Islam and the West. A strong edit that focused the book around one central message would yield a much tighter book that I think would sell well. I'm giving this one 3 stars- 3.5 for potential, 2.5 for execution.
review 2: Reviewed by Jaglvr for TeensReadToo.comA THOUSAND VEILS is not a traditional young adult book. But the story will have appeal for older teens as well as adults. In our post 9/11 days, the cultures of the Middle East and America are extremely separate. D. J. Murphy writes a compelling and page-turning suspense novel. A note on the copyright page alerts the reader that the events are inspired by and in part based on a true story. Having read that notice, I was skeptical on how the story would present itself. I shouldn't have doubted Murphy's ability to craft an amazing tale. The reader is captured from the first pages. Fatima Shihabi is awakened during the night by a cryptic phone call. She knows immediately that her life is in danger and she must flee within the hour. From that moment on, the story unfolds with heart-stopping terror and anticipation. Fatima has grown up in Iraq and loves her country and her family with all her heart. What she doesn't love is the deterioration of her culture under Saddam Hussein's regime. As a writer, she has been able to publish women and children interest stories in her country. But after subtly injecting a jab at the government in one of her articles, she is imprisoned and tortured. Only by her brother's connections in the government is she freed. After her scare, she returns to fluff pieces that will not get her into trouble. But that doesn't last long, and after the fateful call, she is on a journey for her freedom and her life. With a call to her brother Omar in the United States, Fatima's life falls into the hands of an unlikely Wall Street lawyer, Charles Sherman. Charles is known for his big corporate deals, not for pro-bono refugee work. But his boss and mentor, Art, believes Charles is the right one for the case, having spent many years in Saudi Arabia brokering deals for the Arabs. Unknowingly, Charles is not content with his current life. Taking on Fatima's case will cause a life-altering change. Charles and Fatima eventually meet on foreign soil and, through intellectual conversations, they come to know and love each other. Fatima points out the failings of the United States government, while giving insight into the women and the culture she has lived and loved. Charles returns repeatedly to his fascination with the veils that the women in Fatima's culture use to cover themselves. Fatima opens Charles' eyes, revealing that everyone wears a veil of some creation. Murphy weaves the story beautifully. It captures the human spirit of survival and perseverance. Each character discovers hidden strengths and abilities that they never knew they had. The persecution and resistance Fatima encounters in every step of her journey will inflame the reader, and the ending will leave you amazed at the human spirit. less
Reviews (see all)
This is a book I keep thinking about a year after finishing it. Local author. Recommended.
OK book. Not my style. I wanted more character development and less mystery/ action.
Author coming to Cincinnati in February, anxious to go see him
We just read this for my book club and I really enjoyed it!
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