This is a peculiar, if superb, novel. I'd never heard of Al Ain, a small city in the UAE, but of course everyone knows about its neighbor Dubai. Andrew Madegan has written a page-turning, funny and oddly touching portrait of this (seemingly bizarre and horrifying) place. He makes the place come alive on the page. I felt as if I'd lived there for 10 years, even though I've never even seen it.