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Portraits in the Sand: A Nice Dallas Girl Escapes Unhappiness and Finds Life in 1960s Iraq


Larry Taylor Libri


A BOAC night flight from London sets down one midnight in Baghdad, Iraq; the doors are flung open, and before passengers can alight, reality wafts in. Thus opens the next chapter in the young author?s breathlessly lived escape to womanhood.The year is 1962, the author is a twenty-something Texas gal, an artist and a young mum, swept away from Dallas to live in Post-war England with her dashing Scottish husband, a petroleum engineer, just passing through the Lone Star State. After a couple of years in the dysfunctional society of a war-weary Britain, they move on. The book comprises an eighteen-chapter collection of anecdotes, vignettes, and ripping good stories. The voice is terse, minimalist. But the richness of time and place engage the reader immediately.The sounds, smells, humor, ironies of culture, and the implied love of the author for this unlovely desert throwback to the seventh century is uncanny. Portraits in the Sand records an adventure of nearly a decade. The author and her ?Englises? compadres are drawn colorfully in honest detail, as are the cameos of many dearly remembered ?locals,? Achmid, George, Fahid?s grocery-used-car-lot-and-auto-repair shop, Sammy, Ibrahim-the-carpet-merchant, Hratch, Ali, and a cast of many faces-in-the-crowd who drift in and out of the narrative.Readers come away informed, moved, and wanting more.
 
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