Review: “In The Kingdom of Men” by Kim Barnes

This is a very good novel just out by Kim Barnes. The top of my review in The Seattle Times:

In the 1960s, the Arabian American Oil Company, the big boy in the international oil business, created gated compounds for its American workers in Saudi Arabia, or more accurately, for the workers’ wives and families whose husbands went off to work on oil rigs.

A portrait of life inside the gates in 1967, drawn with skill and filled with evocative period detail by novelist Kim Barnes, depicts a sort of Saudi Barbie Dream House. The narrator is young bride Virginia “Gin” McPhee, a transplanted Okie and heroine in the enticing tradition of plucky outsiders who find themselves in a new society with complex social rules and secrets.

For the rest, click here.

2 thoughts on “Review: “In The Kingdom of Men” by Kim Barnes

  1. Hi Kim. I just wanted you to know that I really liked this review in the Seattle Times. It caused me to order the book. Thanks for bringing it to my attention so effectively. Take care.

  2. HH: So cool to see your name on my blog comments…! And glad you got the book. Barnes is a helluva writer — and after reading this novel I have a better sense of the odd bedfellows created by the oil-camp era. I’ve never fully grasped how the American-Arab relationship worked in the modern era, and she gave me a much better sense. Also gave me a starting place for more reading on the subject. Like the Vietnam War, I know enough to be ill-informed. I caught up some on that topic, now doing the same on the Arab oil dynamics. Thanks again! –kbmh

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