Skip to main content


August 9, 2010

Zoë Ferraris: CITY OF VEILS

Posted by Dana

Today's guest blogger Zoë Ferraris moved to Saudi Arabia in the aftermath of the first Gulf War to live with her then husband and his extended family of Saudi-Palestinian Bedouins, who had never welcomed an American into their lives before. She has an MFA from Columbia University and is the award-winning author of FINDING NOUF. Her new novel, CITY OF VEILS, has just been released.   In today's post she talks about the great conversations she's had with book clubs and shares some insights about the new book.

City-of-Veils-9780316074278.jpgDiscovering book groups is one of my favorite things about being a writer. I’ve been to dozens in person and Skyped with many more, and each one leaves its own fingerprint. They’re even better than book signings because what you have, as a writer, is a group of people who have actually read the book and are prepared to discuss it. Having the writer there can make people shy about saying what they really think, but there are plenty of people who do (believe me) and it always makes for interesting discussions.

You might think that a writer, going to her 30th book club, would be tired of answering the same questions and saying the same things about the book she’s been plugging for two years, but in fact the meetings always electrify me. One evening, a woman described her experiences living in Pakistan for four years, and I was riveted by the differences between there and Saudi Arabia. People who have no experience in the Middle East often bring fresh approaches. I’ve had my best conversations about burqas, chauvinism, God and prayer, Middle Eastern politics, and the war on terror in book groups, because here are 10-20 people who have prepared themselves and put aside a few hours for thinking and debate. It doesn’t get better than that!

My latest book, CITY OF VEILS, has a bunch of new material to offer book groups that are interested in a few hours of lively debate. As a follow-up to FINDING NOUF, the novel widens the lens on life in Saudi Arabia and introduces new perspectives, including that of a female filmmaker, a non-devout police investigator, and an American woman who finds Saudi Arabia deeply oppressive and whose husband has disappeared.

If you wind up choosing CITY OF VEILS for your book group, of course feel free to drop me a line!

Zoë Ferraris, Author (