The Sand Cafe by Neil MacFarquhar
A Novel

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 2 Critic Reviews



Dhahran Palace Hotel, Saudi Arabia, 1991. The US forces are massing on the border with Iraq, preparing to throw Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait. Men and material are arriving daily, helicopters and armor are training in the desert sand. There are rumors of Scud missiles, talk of the possibility of chemical attack, but in fact, nothing is really happening. With no story to report, the press is getting restive. The Sand Café is a satire of modern war reporting that mercilessly exposes the life of the foreign correspondent: endless scurrying trips in pursuit of a really big story, gathering frustration, brewing jealousy directed towards other reporters, especially those from better financed TV networks, and the stale smell of damp rot that comes from a combination of leaking air-conditioning and wretched carpeting in the hotel where the entire bedraggled press corps is housed. Boredom massages idle thoughts into wild excesses, even in a country that officially bans the sale of alcohol. Neil MacFarquhar, a veteran of the Middle East foreign press corps, has written a woundingly witty black comedy of those who bring us news from the front lines, exposing their vanities, rivalries and petty distractions. Love, lust for fame and the magnificent gilded hypocrisy of the regime in Saudi make this novel as revealing as it is compelling.

About Neil MacFarquhar

See more books from this Author
Neil MacFarquhar's exposure to the Middle East started early, even before he entered first grade in Marsa Brega, Libya and continued through Stanford University, where his senior thesis focused on the Arab oil embargo as an economic weapon. He has worked as a correspondent in the Arab world for more than twelve years, including the last five as the Cairo bureau chief for "The New York Times," Fluent in Arabic and French, his next assignment for the "Times" will be Paris.
Published August 5, 2007 by PublicAffairs. 388 pages
Genres: Humor & Entertainment, War, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Sand Cafe

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

MacFarquhar transitions from newsprint to novels with a satiric debut depicting reporters during the first Gulf War.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of The Sand Cafe: A Novel

The New York Times

See more reviews from this publication

In Neil MacFarquhar's Desert Storm novel, two journalists compete for a third while they wait for the bombs to fall.

May 07 2006 | Read Full Review of The Sand Cafe: A Novel

Reader Rating for The Sand Cafe

An aggregated and normalized score based on 12 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review