Like Nowhere Else
by Denyse Woods
Penguin, Ireland, 2005. Pb. ISBN 1-844-88042-7.
Novels are not usually reviewed in these pages, but I was asked to look at this one because it was set primarily in Yemen. I was a little wary, as I do not normally read romantic fiction. However, I felt drawn into the book from the start. The author, the daughter of an Irish diplomat, knows Yemen well and her descriptions of its scenery and atmosphere fully reflect this. For me, the love story became just a thread to connect all the sights, smells and feelings which the country evokes.
The author, in addition to visiting the country, has obviously done some research, and there are references in the text to Carsten Niebuhr, Freya Stark, Doreen Ingrams and Tim Mackintosh-Smith amongst others. Her observant eye notes the men waiting outside Bab al-Yemen with their paint rollers, and the changing colours of Jabal Nuqum, and to anyone who has visited Yemen her vivid descriptions of people and places will bring back nostalgic memories.
I would therefore thoroughly recommend Like Nowhere Else for the picture it paints of Yemen – and if you enjoy love stories then here you have an added bonus!