Unveiling Saudi Arabia

A mystery novel takes the reader into streets and homes with an unflinching look at the melding of religious and contemporary views.

November 1, 2010 22:26
2 minute read.
Saudi Women smoke water pipes.

saudi women_311. (photo credit: (Illustrative photo: MCT))


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

Unusual characters, unique settings and current events abound in the mystery genre. It should come as no surprise that the intricacies of Saudi Arabian society make for an exciting, probing mystery series featuring a devout, intelligent and independent woman.

As one of the few women in the Jeddah medical examiner’s office, Katya Hijazi wants her work to be valuable and respected. It’s especially important for her to help find justice for female victims living in a society where women are expected to live quiet, retiring lives in this “City of Veils” as demanded by Islamic law and tradition. Katya also wears a burka and lives a modest lifestyle.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

Katya and her friend, desert guide Nayir Sharqi, investigate the death of a young woman found on a beach near Jeddah. The young woman was a filmmaker known for controversial documentaries that made her enemies. The case leads them to Miriam Walker, an American woman whose husband, a security contractor, disappeared the night she arrived in Jeddah. As the link between the two cases becomes apparent, Katya and Nayir find a culture of prostitution, violence and pornography that the government desperately tries to keep quiet.

In her second novel, Ferraris skillfully takes the reader into the streets and homes of Saudi Arabia with an unflinching look at the melding of religious and contemporary views. It is a society that most Americans cannot understand, but Ferraris illustrates what it’s like to live where the fashion police can arrest any man or woman for what they deem immodest dress; a woman flying into the country unescorted may be detained in a room marked “Unclaimed Women”; and a man can take “a summer marriage.”

But Ferraris also balances City of Veils. She uses the relationship between Katya and Nayir to show how those who are religious also can be progressive. Her independence and competence at work parallels his beliefs as an orthodox Muslim. The two love each other and are moving toward a deeper bond.

Ferraris won the 2008 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for first fiction for her debut Finding Nouf, which introduced her characters. In City of Veils, Ferraris, who lived in Saudi Arabia during the 1990s with her former husband, continues to highlight all facets of the human factor in a complicated society.

– Sun Sentinel/MCT

Related Content

Sarah Silverman
August 26, 2014
Jewish women take home gold at 2014 Emmys