THE BEDUINS' GAZELLE by Frances Temple


Age Range: 11 - 16
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 Add this stylish, romantic tale of nomad lovers separated and reunited to Temples tragically short, but uniformly memorable, shelf of books. Yielding reluctantly to his uncles pressure, Atiyah leaves his fathers tents, and his betrothed, Halima, to study at the great university at Fez. There he falls in with Etienne, a French scholar readers will remember from The Ramsey Scallop (1994); when the two learn that Halima has been lost in a sandstorm, they contrive to borrow horses and dash off to find her. Meanwhile, Halima has been rescued by Raisulu, arrogant sheikh of the rival Shummari, who sets aside her betrothal, arguing that she is a foundling, and proposes marriage. Temples evocation of the Beduin--a grand, generous nation of poets and storytellers shaped by their religion and their hostile, sometimes beautiful environment--is easily as vivid as the storyline; the women are as strongminded as the men, even the children engage in rhyming contests, and so powerful is the grip of law and custom that, in a startling climactic twist, when the previously villainous Raisulu makes his formal marriage announcement, he names not himself, but Atiyah as the bridegroom. It would be too easy to find signs that this book lacks the characteristic polish of Temple's previous books; regardless, this one glitters with the intelligence and skill of a gifted storyteller, and will sweep readers along on an exotic, satisfying adventure. (Fiction. 11-16)

Pub Date: April 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-531-09519-3
Page count: 150pp
Publisher: Orchard
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 1996


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