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When Jillian Schedneck takes up a position teaching English to a classroom of UAE students in Abu Dhabi, she is young, idealistic, in love, and ready to take on the world. But it is not exactly what she anticipated: her mostly female students are only attending university as a token distraction from what will become a life spent attending to domestic duties, and Jillian struggles with the limitations to their futures that they seem to so readily accept.
Facing the contradicting culture of extreme wealth and luxury, but little real opportunity, Jillian finds herself deeply intrigued by the women of the UAE. As she negotiates her way around classrooms of unlikely students, they start to come alive as Jillian introduces them to writers such as Virginia Woolf, and poses questions about feminism. But she is not only opening up a new world to them. She also finds her own cultural assumptions being challenged, and begins to realise how much her time in these desert cities have shaped the woman she will become.
Reminiscent of Nine Parts of Desire and Reading Lolita in Tehran, this compelling memoir announces the arrival of an exciting new writer.
- Pan Macmillan Australia, March 2012
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