Saturday, December 5, 2009
The Southern Gates of Arabia
I was searching for travel writing centered in or around the United Arab Emirates when I came across Freya Stark's writings. Intrigued by Stark herself, known as the "Last Romantic Explorer", I couldn't decide which of her books to purchase. Since I had plopped myself down in front of the Middle East section blocking the fairly limited selection, I made the acquaintance of a British woman who spent a large portion of her life living in Jordan. She fully endorsed Stark's writings and claimed I couldn't choose unwisely.
Well, I kinda did. The Southern Gates of Arabia is Stark's retelling of her search for the lost city of Shabwa, located in present day Yemen. Although Stark is truly captivated by her surroundings, I wasn't entirely captivated by her writing, despite her talent with words. Perhaps I was feeling too restless? Or had too high of expectations?
I will probably read more of Stark in the future... and plan to research more about her life. From my limited knowledge I already know she's someone I admire. I mean... she learned Arabic.
Recommendation: I really want someone to fall in love with this book. I'm sorry it wasn't me.