Author(s): Zoe Ferraris
Among the well-to-do families of Jeddah, Palestinian-born desert guide Nayir is an outsider. But when Nouf ash-Shrawi, the sixteen-year-old daughter of a wealthy Saudi dynasty, disappears just before her arranged marriage, Nayir is the man the Shrawis trust to bring her home. Days later Nouf's body is found in a desert wadi, but Nayir's task is not over; he feels compelled to uncover the disturbing circumstances surrounding her death. His search takes him far from his natural terrain, away from the endless dunes and empty skies of the desert and into the city of Jeddah, with its oppressive monuments, foreigners' compounds and shuttered apartments. Most troubling of all, his investigations force him to work closely with Katya Hijazi, a forensic scientist. He finds himself struggling with emotions he has fought all his life to repress and with loyalties he has never before questioned: to old friends, to his faith, and to a culture in which women take their secrets to their graves. Vivid and suspenseful, The Night of the Mi'raj is an extraordinary psychological drama and a mesmerising portrait of a society at once exquisitely cultured and profoundly claustrophobic.
Shortlisted for CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger 2008.
** 'An offbeat enquiry into the death of a young girl from a rich family is the starting place for a trip into a world most of us can hardly imagine. This has The Kite Runner potential ... It has a quiet and almost deadly effectiveness in forcing us to think about a faraway country and the people who live in it' Rodney Troubridge, WATERSTONES
Zoe Ferraris lived in Jeddah for a year as part of a strict Saudi community before returning to live in the United States. She has received an MFA from Columbia University and now lives in San Francisco with her daughter.