His entry begins:
After finishing The Other Saudis it was a real pleasure to find some time to read fiction. I grew up with novels and it was only in graduate school that the heavy academic workload and long reading lists started to take up most of my time and I could devote less time to fiction. So after having worked on The Other Saudis for about eight years on and off, I was thrilled to just sit back and read The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. I was hooked from the start. Apart from the gripping plot, and its darker moments, the novel is a homage to art, and to the great metropolis, symbolised here by New York. Its rich description of the antique shop, where its protagonist spends much of his life, and of the many faces of the city, encouraged me to rediscover...[read on]About The Other Saudis, from the publisher:
Toby Matthiesen traces the politics of the Shia in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia from the nineteenth century until the present day. This book outlines the difficult experiences of being Shia in a Wahhabi state, and casts new light on how the Shia have mobilised politically to change their position. Shia petitioned the rulers, joined secular opposition parties and founded Islamist movements. Most Saudi Shia opposition activists profited from an amnesty in 1993 and subsequently found a place in civil society and the public sphere. However, since 2011 a new Shia protest movement has again challenged the state. The Other Saudis shows how exclusionary state practices created an internal Other and how sectarian discrimination has strengthened Shia communal identities. The book is based on little-known Arabic sources, extensive fieldwork in Saudi Arabia and interviews with key activists. Of immense geopolitical importance, the oil-rich Eastern Province is a crucial but little known factor in regional politics and Gulf security.Visit Toby Matthiesen's website.
Writers Read: Toby Matthiesen.