On The Table Read, “The Best Book Reader Magazine in the UK“, Nick Kelly’s One Hundred Years In Qatar book series takes the reader up close and personal to the richest nation on Earth.
One Hundred Years In Qatar
Nick Kelly’s One Hundred Years in Qatar series (The House of Fortune and Single Man Dancing Alone) makes perfect reading ahead of November, when the world’s spotlight will be focussed on this intriguing nation as it hosts World Cup 2022.
Shedding light on a country that few know much about, except for its vast oil wealth, the author’s meticulous research and experience of having lived and worked in Qatar for twenty-three years adds an authenticity to the plots of both novels and their expertly-developed and fascinating and vivid characters.
Interweaving the stories of both novels (Single Man Dancing Alone continues the story of the Al Bahr family from where volume one left off)not only showcases the author’s accomplished writing but immerses the reader in a delightful fusion of romance, history, family saga and more.
Novels that are almost impossible to put down, Nick Kelly’s One Hundred Years in Qatar series epitomises everything a reader hopes to find in a ‘great read’.
The House of Fortune
On the remote far north east coast of Qatar a village awaits the return of its menfolk from long days of diving for pearls. It’s the summer of 1928 and life is hard. Pearling is the only means of income and if the divers don’t do well the villagers won’t be able to survive.
The Al Bahr family live in Al Mafjar and Al Khor, some are fortunate, some are not. Lubna Al Bahr will have to marry soon but who will her parents choose for her? Despite the hardships, she is happy living a simple life with her mother, father and brother in the village, but all this could soon change. Through the turmoil of war and dramatic times in the Middle East ‘The House of Fortune’ follows the family through the decades, interchanging with events in Cairo, Kuwait and Qatar where just as the colonial days appear to be over, oil becomes the focus of attention.
Now Qatar is the richest nation on earth but what was it like in the formative times of the 50s, 60s and early 70s as a nation was created? The simple ways of the desert and the sea yield to the demand for development. The Al Bahr family try to change with the times and one particular house becomes the focus of daily life, but can those within its walls adapt to the dramatic circumstances they face?
Single Man Dancing Alone
James O’Bryan arrives in Qatar in 1977 to take up his post as an English teacher. His intention is to stay for two years and then continue his travels. However, when he meets the Al Bahr family he becomes drawn into the Qatari way of life, developing a kinship with the eldest son, Fahd, who is an artist.
Over the years, as James makes friends with both expats and Qataris, he finds himself torn between two different cultures, enjoying fun in the sun as well as the traditions and kindness of the Qatari family.
In ‘The House of Fortune,’ the first in the two-book series, the Al Bahr’s humble beginnings in the pearl-diving days of the 1920s change over the next fifty years. In ‘Single Man Dancing Alone’ the development in Qatar during the next fifty years is so great that by the time the tiny country is awarded the World Cup their wealth is enormous. Through James and the family we witness the momentous events that altered the course of Qatar’s history and experience at first hand the choices that a man must make between East and West.
About Nick Kelly
Nick Kelly says: “I started writing seriously about ten years ago when I began my novel ‘The House of Fortune.’ At the same time I studied Creative Writing and Advanced Creative Writing at the Open University managing to get an honours degree.
“I spent twenty five years in the Middle East – teaching English with VSO in Egypt and then in Qatar where I went on to work for the radio and TV station. I then worked as a freelance news reader on BBC World Service radio for nearly twenty years until 2020 when I decided to concentrate on writing and painting.
“The first novel The House of Fortune took eight years to write. The sequel, Single Man Dancing Alone, just two years during the lockdown months. I love travelling and walking, always with a sketch pad and a newly-sharpened pencil to get the latest ideas down on paper – be it in words or pictures.”
Find more from Nick Kelly
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