Brutal. If you're intrigued by a combination of Saudi culture, rape, slave trading, mutilation of faces by humans and wolves, excrement, urine, and deep depression, by all means give Wolves of the Crescent Moon
The book is written in a clumsy stream-of-consciousness style, which made it difficult for me to follow some transitions between voices and main characters. I wonder if some of the clumsiness stems from the translation from Arabic to English. Not sure. All I know is the story reads clunkily in English.
Typically, I feel sympathy for characters being smacked about by life. Not this time. (One exception: the baby abandoned outside a mosque in a banana crate, who has one of his little eyes eaten by a stray cat before he was found. Horribly pitiful!) Why did the gut-wrenching situations faced by these characters not provoke more of an empathic response from me? I'm not completely sure, though I suspect it has to do with the authors less-than-stellar handling of the stream-of-consciousness style.
I'm also disappointed by the author's handling of Riyadh as a character in the story. Al-Mohaimeed has Turad compare Riyadh to Hell, a place where the sources of misery and oppression often remain unseen. But Al-Mohaimeed doesn't push the Riyadh-as-Hell angle far enough, leaving his characterization of the city unfinished. Is Riyadh really hellish? Or is it simply a normal ambiguous city marked by both goodness and badness? Al-Mohaimeed needed to go all John Milton on us to make the Hell comparison stick. In my opinion, he failed in this regard.Wolves of the Crescent Moon
does underline one important point-the banning of a book does not automatically make it required reading. A disappointing read.