Eight Months on Ghazzah Street

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Eight Months on Ghazzah Street
First edition
AuthorHilary Mantel
CountryUnited Kingdom
PublisherViking Press
Publication date
Pages278 pp
823/.914 21
LC ClassPR6063.A438 E35 1997

Eight Months on Ghazzah Street (1988) is the third novel by English author Hilary Mantel, who won the Man Booker Prize in 2009. It tells the story of an Englishwoman, Frances Shore, who moves to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to live with her husband, an engineer.

Based on Mantel's own experiences in Saudi Arabia,[1] the novel explores different peoples' struggles with the contrast in cultures, including those of people of different Islamic cultures, and misunderstandings between the Saudis and Westerners, as well as between women and men.[2] Mantel felt the book anticipated later developments in the culture clash between Islam and the West: "I felt a bit frustrated because as events developed, I had a sort of I-told-you-so feeling."[3]


Reviewing the book in The Spectator, Anita Brookner wrote of a "tightness of control" and commented that a "peculiar fear emanates from this narrative".[4]

On the book's American publication in 1997, one reviewer described it as "a bold, searingly honest and uncompromising novel";[5] while another praised "Mantel's knack for leavening her weighty themes with seductive narrative strategies."[6]


  1. ^ Anderson, Hephzibah (19 April 2009). "Hilary Mantel: on the path from pain to prizes". The Observer. Retrieved 30 July 2011.
  2. ^ Ray, Mohit K. (2007). The Atlantic Companion to Literature in English. Atlantic Publishers & Distributors. p. 340.
  3. ^ Rees, Jasper (8 Oct 2009). "Hilary Mantel: health or the Man Booker Prize? I'd take health". The Telegraph. Retrieved 30 July 2011.
  4. ^ Spectator, 14 May 1988, partily cited at "Eight Months on Ghazzah Street". Complete Review. Retrieved 30 July 2011. and "Eight Months on Ghazzah Street". Harper Collins. Retrieved 30 July 2011.
  5. ^ Milani, Abbas (27 July 1997). "Hilary Mantel's Tales of English Abroad". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 30 July 2011.
  6. ^ Prose, Francine (20 July 1997). "Culture Shocks". New York Times. Retrieved 30 July 2011.

External links[edit]

  • Mantel, Hilary (11 September 2004). "Veiled threats". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 July 2011.