A hopeful read exploring the complexities of navigating cultural and societal expectations abroad.




In her debut memoir, Kirchner chronicles the unexpected transformation her life took while living and working in mid-2000s Qatar.

At the age of 35, Kirchner was happily married and working steadily for Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University. Three months after Kirchner suggested moving to the Middle East for a year so her husband, Geoff, could launch his career as a freelance journalist, they were living there. Having moved often as a child, Kirchner saw the transition as a fresh challenge. Furthermore, she believed the experience could be the couple’s last adventure before settling down to begin their family. Conveniently, Kirchner could accept a marketing director position at Carnegie Mellon’s soon-to-be-opened undergraduate branch in Qatar. Here, she provides a helpful overview of the intersecting political and religious cultures in Qatar, and she starts each chapter with translated Arabic words that foreshadow the content to follow. While Kirchner delved wholeheartedly into the university job meant to support her husband’s journalism dream, Geoff’s presence in Qatar began to dissolve as he seemed to be around less and less. In increasingly heavy foreshadowing of the unfortunate turn her marriage took, Kirchner evokes empathy through the effective communication of her raw emotions. As a result, the issues Kirchner faced, while sometimes obvious in hindsight, become surprising for readers. Meanwhile, Kirchner tirelessly navigated the challenges she faced as a female expat and breadwinner working in a patriarchal society. She found Qatar’s workplace culture to be especially complex, since the country is primarily occupied by a diverse group of foreigners. At times, Kirchner’s detailing of her daily work relationships can be a bit overly detailed and inessential to the narrative. However, through humor and her self-described “friend-dependency,” her internal considerations of her identity in Qatar as a woman, partner and feminist prove worthy of the reader’s patience.

A hopeful read exploring the complexities of navigating cultural and societal expectations abroad.

Pub Date: May 31, 2014

ISBN: 978-0988696860

Page Count: 364

Publisher: Greenpoint Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 7, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2014

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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