Acompelling piece of history told with the intimate voice of memoir, A Diamond in the Desert
introduces readers to Abu Dhabi
, the United Arab Emirates
capital resting on one-tenth of the world’s oil. Jo Tatchell arrived in Abu Dhabi
as a child in 1974, six years after drills first struck oil and three after the UAE became a nation free of British control.
Today, its glittering luxury hotels, recent $10 billion bailout of neighbor Dubai
, and branches of the Louvre and Guggenheim museums opening in 2013 have positioned the city for its entrance on the international stage. Tatchell returns for the story behind the headlines: an expat whose husband, a diplomat, served as the earliest British advisor and friend to the UAE’s first president, Sheikh Zayed; her father’s former business partner, who ascended from the merchant class to become one of the city’s richest men and is poised to unveil its latest beachfront development; and an old friend whose extreme partying revealed to Tatchell a city dripping with wealth. But learning the truth behind her brother’s decision to flee the capital and never return reinforces Tatchell’s suspicion that Abu Dhabi
may have much to hide.
Tatchell takes readers on a tour of Abu Dhabi
with an outlook that’s part native, part critic, and part wide-eyed traveler amazed at the changes in this oncesleepy seaport village. The result is an original collage of perspectives and images, an eye-opening take on the forces pushing a little-known city into the international spotlight.Listen to Jo’s meeting with Zain, a 14-year-old representing the city’s privileged, cosmopolitan youth.Listen to Jo’s cab ride with a giggling, perfume-pushing driver upon her arrival in Abu Dhabi.