Thursday, May 21, 2009
Reading Journal: Dreamers of the Day
I'm extremely disappointed with the writing that I did on the title for this spread. I was trying to come up with something that looked faintly Arabic, but this is truly horrible looking. However, I did enjoy this book by Mary Doria Russell and wanted to preserve my memories of it. Here's what I said about it, beginning with a quote from the main character:
"My little story has become your history. You won't really understand your times until you understand mine."
Thus this warning from Agnes Shanklin, a 40-year-old spinster schoolteacher who narrates from the afterlife, sets the stage for her adventures during the Cairo Peace Conference in 1921.
After her entire family perished from influenza in the aftermath of WWI, Agnes received an inheritance which allowed her to indulge in the trip of a lifetime. Soon after arriving in Egypt, she meets Lawrence of Arabia who had known her sister, and through him she becomes acquainted with Winston Churchill, Lady Gertrude Bell, and a host of other characters both real and fictitious.
She is courted by German-Jewish Karl Weilbacher, who encourages her friendships with the British in hopes of learning more of their plans. Agnes, both plain-faced and plain-spoken, has no illusions about his designs, but welcomes his attentions as her only hope for romance. He squires her around while world-altering events swirl about them.
This was an intriguing story that relieved some of my ignorance about the forces and permutations that made the Middle East what it is today. We do indeed reap what we sow.