Title: A Thousand Veils
Author: D.J. Murphy
Release Date: January 24, 2008
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5
From the back cover:
When Fatima Shihabi, an Iraqi poet and journalist, learns she is marked for death by Saddam Hussein’s secret police, she flees Iraq, evading Saddam’s helicopters hunting her in the desert, only to discover that no other country will grant her asylum. Her flight from Saddam’s vengeance, and the extraordinary efforts of Charles Sherman, a Wall Street lawyer, to save her life, is the subject of this gripping novel, inspired by a true story.
How a resourceful Muslim woman and a determined American man, boundd by their common humanity, love for each other, and fate, manage to thwart a notorious symbol of overarching evil and demented depravity, and in the bargain, achieve greater self-understanding and eventual redemption sends a powerful message to the post-9/11 world. The novel stands as a testament to the importance of an individual effort and perseverance in a world wracked by cataclysmic conflict and beset by profound cultural misunderstanding. The story of Fatima and Charles points the way toward eventual reconciliation and synthesis between Islam and the West.
The novel is set in 2002, a few months before the American invasion of Iraq, in New York, Paris, the French Alps, Saudi Arabia, and Baghdad.
I have become increasingly hesitant at accepting self-published books for review, so when D.J. Murphy contacted me and asked if I wanted to be entered to win a copy of his book A Thousand Veils for review, I wasn’t sure how to respond. In the end, having read a few positive reviews of the book, I decided to go for it and ended up getting a copy. I can now say that I’m definitely glad I took a chance on A Thousand Veils; it’s a multicultural story of love and taking a stand for something you believe in. It’s definitely a book worth reading.
I really liked reading about Fatima’s life in Baghdad; it’s something I don’t have much exposure to and it was really interesting. I also actually really liked the aspects of law discussed in the book. The corporate law was interesting enough, but I enjoyed reading about the avenues Charles used and the lengths he went to in order to try and save Fatima. His dedication to her case was heartwarming and renews your faith in the power of one individual person to change the world, especially considering the novel is based on a true story.
Murphy’s descriptions were also well-written and poetic. It is clear that he is a talented writer. The book does suffer from a bit of classic character dialogue issues – namely that the dialogue isn’t written as people would actually speak. But this is an easily rectified issue and doesn’t affect the overall impact of the book.
I would recommend A Thousand Veils to anyone who is interested in reading more about the Middle East, or anyone who enjoys multicultural stories. The interaction between Charles and Fatima is definitely interesting, especially considering her views on America. It’s a promising debut and I look forward to reading Murphy’s future novels.