PRAISE FOR Triple Time
"Gorgeous and subtle, Anne Sanow's Triple Time are stories that stay with you. Her characters are stripped down to the essential grit, surviving through patience and the ability to gauge complex layers of tradition and expectation. Progress is the mantra, but this is progress shaped by the strictures of tradition. Foreigners, Saudi natives, expats and Bedouins—all misunderstand each other to one degree or another. Love destroys, family redeems, and the sand shifts through closed doors as easily as open ones, especially on the top floors of a high-rise apartment. Loss is the base note, but also a patina that softens experience—proof of what should be treasured. This is simply great storytelling."
—Dorothy Allison, author of Bastard Out of Carolina and Cavedweller
"This is the kind of manuscript that reminds me why people want to become editors and agents, and why writers are willing to judge contests: you hope that among the bad manuscripts and the good ones and the very good ones there will be one that is great. This book is great."
—Ann Patchett, author of Bel Canto and Run
"Both gritty and poetic, with the place being the grounding of these stories. The unfolding of the overlap in place and character is so well done that once you have realized that this is the author's intention, you have been so fully immersed in each story that it only complicates and enriches your sense of this book."
—Rebecca Chace, author of Capture the Flag
"This atmospheric collection of stories gives us glimpses into the lives of a wide range of people--native Saudis and expatriates. The book pulls us in with the power of its details and evocation of places and emotions. We become immersed in the characters' experiences of love, loss, and self-discovery. Sanow avoids exoticism and makes us understand that people's concerns, sorrows, senses of loss and joy are similar, no matter what country they live in."
—Nahid Rachlin, author of Persian Girls
"The Americans in this collection of exquisite dilemmas have farmed the Saudi desert and debauched themselves in the capital for so long that they have forgotten America. The Saudis, born in Bedouin tents and dying in Riyadh skyscrapers, have lived two thousand years of change in a single lifetime. By fusing all their concisely rendered but capacious lives into a single story, Anne Sanow has made a brief epic."
—Salvatore Scibona, author of The End
"Sanow brings Saudi Arabia to life in seven windswept tales. Each character grapples with the strictures of Saudi society and the rapid changes affecting the nation, both from the outside and within . . . a fascinating glimpse into a world with which many Westerners are unfamiliar."
"There are shifting secrets hidden in the endless pockets of sand and rubble that provide a great deal of the atmosphere in Anne Sanow's fascinating book . . . but it is the iconic characters that provide the fulcrum for these seven linked stories. . . . Sanow understands that the real human drama here is in the reaction to the lonely wail of the call to prayer as it clashes with a Led Zeppelin record played by a ten-year-old. It is in the tug and pull of ancient beliefs with the inexorable modernization in the Middle East that carries these characters along as if on a wave . . . Anne Sanow won the prestigious 2009 Drue Heinz Literature Prize chosen by novelist Ann Patchett. It was good fortune for this first collection, but after reading Triple Time you'll realize that the honor was no stroke of luck."
—Michael Lee, ForeWord Magazine
"Unsentimental and deftly restrained, Sanow's book is ultimately a portrait of cross-cultural lives in transformation."
—David Bahr, Time Out New York
"[A] complexly rendered fresco that delves into a country undergoing explosive change . . . The stories in the book stand alone as a masterful telling. But there is a thread only revealed toward the end which makes them all the more powerful."
—Sue Harrison, Provincetown Banner
"In 'Pioneer,' a lonely little boy spends hours watching each creature that passes, attempting to amuse himself without toys or playmates; meanwhile, his frustrated mother slowly grows weary of their monotonous, lonely life and begins to crack. Ghusun and Thurayya, the two young Saudi girls in 'Slow Stately Dance in Triple Time,' must remain confined to their home, as per their eldest brother's command; secretly peering into the outside world, they witness as much as they can, but they know the life of inequity that awaits them, shaped by ritual and tradition as much as their desert surroundings. The remaining five stories detail the same sense of isolation through a range of intriguing characters."
"Anne Sanow's rich and dense debut collection of stories . . . presents the sensual picture of a singular place and the displaced inhabitants who people it. There are Americans who lose themselves in the sands of the Empty Quarter even as they farm it and Saudis forced to renegotiate title to their own land as thousand-year-old traditions are upended, offended, and adapted. . . . The real achievement of this book . . . is its abounding, elegant evocation of places both natural and manufactured."
—Scott Cheshire, AGNI
"Place and character, landscape and psychology overlap . . . the stories in Triple Time offer readers a new way of seeing. These radiant and compelling stories challenge the reader to reimagine what a story collection can accomplish, what sort of an impression a collection can achieve. In the process, the stories transport readers to contested and exotic places—shimmering deserts, sun-blasted high-rises, crowded markets, and abandoned housing compounds—and into the restless hearts of the people who, willingly or otherwise, call these places home."
—Michael Hinken, Provincetown Arts
"Triple Time does everything that a work of fiction set in a much-mystified country should: it provides us with an insider's view of the many sides of the culture and forces us to query our assumptions about it, all the while presenting us with wonderful stories and characters who are the antithesis of stereotypes—vivid, fully formed, and flawed, yet filled with hope and yearning."
—Mako Yoshikawa, Women's Review of Books