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Badawi    by Mohed Altrad order for
by Mohed Altrad
Order:  USA  Can
Black Cat, 2016 (2016)
Softcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Barbara Lingens

Badawi is the word for Bedouin, and it is our hero's name. He is a young boy, whose ill mother has been divorced, in a society in which to be divorced is to be repudiated. After his mother's death, Badawi has to live with his grandmother, who barely tolerates him. But Badawi is curious, and he knows that schooling is the way for him to escape his tribal life.

The author, Mohed Altrad, is a Syrian-born businessman who has written several novels. This story seems to echo his early life: he was born in the desert; his Bedouin father gave him away to his grandparents; and he was destined to be a shepherd.

Over the years, Badawi manages to claw himself to a position with an oil company. Along the way he has met a girl, who though he is unable to acknowledge it, is very important to him, because she represents the life he thought he wanted to leave.

Yet his new life isn't quite what he expected it would be either. And this is where we run into some problems. Badawi's youth is well described. We see, hear and smell the desert, and feel his desire for advancement. Once Badawi has a career, we are not as involved. Things and people are described more superficially, which creates kind of a rushed feel to this part of the story. The ending is very beautiful, though.

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