Eight Months on Ghazzah Street: A Novel

by Hilary Mantel

Paperback, 1997

Call number





Holt Paperbacks (1997), 288 pages


From the two-time Man Booker Prize winner, a prescient and haunting novel of life in Saudi Arabia. Frances Shore is a cartographer by trade, a maker of maps, but when her husband's work takes her to Saudi Arabia she finds herself unable to map the Kingdom's areas of internal darkness. The regime is corrupt and harsh, the expatriates are hard-drinking money-grubbers, and her Muslim neighbours are secretive, watchful. The streets are not a woman's territory; confined in her flat, she finds her sense of self begin to dissolve. She hears whispers, sounds of distress from the 'empty' flat above her head. She has only rumours, no facts to hang on to, and no one with whom to share her creeping unease. As her days empty of certainty and purpose, her life becomes a blank - waiting to be filled by violence and disaster.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member brendanmoody
Masterfully blending gothic horror tropes with a careful study of the intellectual dislocation and resulting eccentric behavior of Westerners working in Saudi Arabia, Hilary Mantel's Eight Months on Ghazzah Street is a riveting and remarkable novel. Mantel has the great novelist's eye for telling detail, and she describes the many strange landscapes and uncertain moments confronting her protagonist in such well-honed, immediate language that the character's confusion and sense of disorder are carried over to the reader. A stylistic triumph.… (more)
LibraryThing member catapogo
Disappointing. The author does a good job of creating an oppressive atmosphere but I didn't feel like there was much else to back it up. VERY slow and pretty darned boring, which partially I think was intentional (to make you feel like the main character) but it is still slow and boring. The resolution of the "mystery" is recounted in the same tone and seems like it could almost go unnoticed. A weak end for something that is not that fun to read and at the same time mildly anxiety provoking.… (more)
LibraryThing member MeditationesMartini
Bizarro-World Islamofascism and conspicuous consumption all up in your teeth in the Saudi Arabia of the 1980s, filtered through expat alienation and with a creepy gothic mystery thrown in for no reason except to be awesome.
LibraryThing member readyreader
Thoroughly enjoyed this book...the setting, the characters, the atmosphere, the tension...all of which would be a challenge for any marriage. Published over 25 years ago, I would bet things have not changed much in the Saudi culture in all that time. Author Hiliary Mantel did spend some time in the Middle East, so I am sure she did draw on her experience there to create this story of intrigue and suspense.… (more)




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