Blog Tour + Review: From Dunes to Dior by Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar

Posted 8 October, 2012 by Rinn in Blog Tour, Review / 5 Comments

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Blog Tour + Review: From Dunes to Dior by Mohanalakshmi RajakumarFrom Dunes to Dior by Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar
Series: Love Comes Later #2
Published by Kindle Digital Editions on 2012
Genres: Memoir, Non-Fiction
Pages: 104
Source: the publisher
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Called everything from the world's richest to fattest nation, Qatar has been on the breakneck path towards change for several decades. The capital city Doha, is where our family of three has lived since 2005.

From Dunes to Dior is not the stuff of newspaper headlines (they made their money from oil! Thirty years ago everyone was living in tents!) but real life stories about being a South Asian American who lives here (no, I don't have to cover my hair, and yes, I can drive).

I had no idea that living the life of my dreams (including a husband and precious baby) would coincide with the rapid development of one the smallest and safest countries in the world, an oasis of calm smack dab in the global hotspot of the Middle East.

I am an archaeology graduate. All I know of Qatar is that a lot of people I’ve met on excavations have worked out there – and that is the shameful extent of my knowledge. I felt that I really should know more about the country, since there seems to be a lot of archaeology going on there: hence my choice of reading From Dunes to Dior over Love Comes Later, plus the fact that I really enjoy memoirs. 

Mohana sets up the perfect introduction for those who, like me, know absolutely nothing of Qatar – yet she avoids the easy mistake of giving us too much detailed information at once. An interesting mix of demographics, geography and history combined with a fluid writing style make for an easy-to-read background of the country, that doesn’t read anything like a textbook despite all the facts and numbers. Whilst the topics covered are ‘basic’, this doesn’t mean they are any less interesting – Mohana has a true talent for discussing everyday occurrences and creating a real story out of them.

It is fascinating just how multi-cultural Qatar actually is – Qataris are a minority in their own country – despite the strict citizenship laws (which are reminiscent of ancient Rome, pre-Caracalla). Mohana clearly points out and dismisses stereotypes, yet her essays show that racism is still quite evident, which is sad in this day and age.

A mix of serious and light-hearted essays balance the book out – I particularly enjoyed a humorous one on Dunkin’ Doughnuts. Mohana is a strong woman, making a life for herself in a country that alienates her for many reasons; her book is an intriguing study of cultural stereotypes and the mixing of cultures, as well as a brilliant introduction to Qatar. I did notice a few spelling errors, but nothing too major.

If you are a fan of memoirs or love reading about other cultures I would highly recommend this book. It is presented as a series of essays, but don’t let that put you off – they are well written, humorous (where appropriate) and simply fascinating.

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5 responses to “Blog Tour + Review: From Dunes to Dior by Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar

  1. The only blog entry my husband ever read (or remembers) is that Dunkin’ Donuts one! So you’re in great company Rinn. Thanks for this review which shows me that all the reasons I wrote this book made it across to the reader on the page.

    I want to give people a taste of life in Qatar but then also my unique slice of it.

    I don’t know of any digs going on at the moment but there are interesting finds out there in the sand.

    • I’m glad you like the review! =D I hope many others will read it, even if just to learn a bit about a little known country.

  2. Great review, Rinn! I think you captured From Dunes to Dior perfectly. I learned a lot, and, yeah, The Dunkin Doughnuts article was one of my favorites as well–what can I say? I can relate! Thanks for joining us on this tour, and if you have a moment, please cross-post your awesome review to Amazon and GoodReads.

    Em 🙂

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