Under a Crescent Moon: Stories from Arabia By Julia Simpson
My newest book is Under a Crescent Moon, a collection of 9 of my best stories written during my seventeen years in Saudi Arabia.
My stories reflect my life, as is the case for any writer. In college, I was preparing for a career in international journalism when I met a handsome young Saudi who had come to the West, with a group of other Saudis, to study English and engineering. We fell in love, got married, and went off to live in his hometown of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia. (Sylvia Fowler’s poignant memoir, The Red Sea Bride, may also soon available on this site )
Once in Jeddah with my two college degrees, I discovered I was banned from working for a salary as well as from sundry other things. Driving a car, attending college classes, having a telephone, and inheriting or owning property were among the most significant. Ironically, I chanced to find that selling essays, stories, and interviews to the local English language newspapers and Saudi Broadcasting System (English Service) was tolerated. The Saudi government made no interdiction, viewing such income as similarly inconsequential as the money earned by foreigners selling chewing gum or beans in the street.
Writing helped provide a buffer against incredible loneliness. While nonfiction could be sold for a nominal fee, fiction helped me explore the exotic allure of Arabia as well as the tremendous culture gap that creates so many impediments to acceptance of foreign wives and their bicultural offspring.
Under a Crescent Moon attempts to open, via parables, poems and stories, a window onto the unique experience of entering into the Muslim culture, with a particular emphasis on Saudi life. This collection makes no claim to revealing a complete picture: I hope you will view it as a tiny portal opened in good faith.