Zaatar Days, Henna Nights
By Maliha Masood
When twenty-eight-year-old Maliha Masood, a burned-out dot-commer from Seattle, bought a one-way ticket to adventure and rejuvenation, she found it in the most unlikely of places: the Middle East.With an infectious love of adventure, a zany sense of humour, and serious questions about her Islamic faith, Pakistani-born Masood begins an unforgettable journey. She camps in the Sahara with a Bedouin "desert fox," is mistaken for a spy in Turkey, takes a lesson in beauty from a Kurdish family, and falls in love with a poet. She experiences souks and mosques, open-air lingerie bazaars and nightclubs grooving to hip-hop. In a region associated with terrorist havens, Masood meets ordinary Muslim men and women navigating the politics of culture, religion, and identity. Zaatar Days, Henna Nights offers a street-savvy take on the contemporary Arab world that's seldom seen on the evening news. This is a story of discovery and faith, of making bonds and breaking stereotypes, and of finding oneself where one least expects to.