This book is a travelogue written for a general audience interested in the Middle East or learning a foreign language in situ.
A graduate student with a fascination for the Middle East, sets off for Syria with the goal of becoming fluent in Arabic in the space of a year. On her quest, she meets a collection of flamboyant characters: aristocrats, narcissists, penny-pinching travellers, fierce landladies, and lotus-eaters. She studies in a strict Islamic madrassah in Syria; munches on a local hallucinogen in Yemen; finds out the quickest way to annoy an Iranian; learns the word Mocha has nothing to do with chocolate; discovers the Jordanian desert has fifteen types of scorpions; and in Lebanon, finds that no matter how long ago you quit, it’s never too late to start smoking again. Covering Syria, Yemen, Iran, Jordan and Lebanon this book is a portrait of the Middle East on the cusp of the Arab Spring, and a tongue-in-cheek peek into the experience of learning a foreign language in situ.
Reviews on Amazon:
The author has done a great job at providing an insight into a part of the world that most only see in news bulletins associated with death and destruction (Australia).
A must-read for anyone curious about Arabic culture and everyday life in the Middle East. This was an extremely witty and thought-provoking book, and one of the few which has genuinely made me laugh out loud. The author’s passion for learning is obvious throughout the book which translated to a really informative and relatable account of what it means to be in a new culture and learning a language, especially as a woman. The stories and personal accounts keep this book captivating, hilarious, and layered with interesting details about the Middle East (UK).
This is a wonderful journey through history, politics and the rocky road of learning Arabic. But this is far more than a love/hate relationship with the difficulties of learning Arabic – it is a quirky declaration of love to the region, to Syria, Yemen, Lebanon at the time of the Arab demonstrations and socio-political uprisings (Germany).
Currently available in paperback or Kindle. To purchase please go to your local Amazon store: