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Extended Audio Sample Florence of Arabia: A Novel Audiobook, by Christopher Buckley Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,342 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Christopher Buckley Narrator: Patricia Kalember Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2004 ISBN: 9780739316887
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The bestselling author who made mincemeat of political correctness in Thank You for Smoking, conspiracy theories in Little Green Men, and Presidential indiscretions No Way to Treat a First Lady now takes on the hottest topic in the entire world—Arab-American relations—in a blistering comic novel sure to offend the few it doesn’t delight.

Appalled by the punishment of her rebellious friend Nazrah, youngest and most petulant wife of Prince Bawad of Wasabia, Florence Farfarletti decides to draw a line in the sand. As Deputy to the deputy assistant secretary for Near East Affairs, Florence invents a far-reaching, wide-ranging plan for female emancipation in that part of the world.

The U.S. government, of course, tells her to forget it. Publicly, that is. Privately, she’s enlisted in a top-secret mission to impose equal rights for the sexes on the small emirate of Matar (pronounced “Mutter”), the “Switzerland of the Persian Gulf.” Her crack team: a CIA killer, a snappy PR man, and a brilliant but frustrated gay bureaucrat. Her weapon: TV shows.

The lineup on TV Matar includes A Thousand and One Mornings, a daytime talk show that features self-defense tips to be used against boyfriends during Ramadan; an addictive soap opera featuring strangely familiar members of the Matar royal family; and a sitcom about an inept but ruthless squad of religious police, pitched as “Friends from Hell.”

The result: the first deadly car bombs in the country since 1936, a fatwa against the station’s entire staff, a struggle for control of the kingdom, and, of course, interference from the French. And that’s only the beginning.

A merciless dismantling of both American ineptitude and Arabic intolerance, Florence of Arabia is Christopher Buckley’s funniest and most serious novel yet, a biting satire of how U.S. good intentions can cause the Shiite to hit the fan.

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer | 2/12/2014

    " took me several weeks to get through the first ten pages and an afternoon to finish the rest "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ellen | 2/11/2014

    " Christopher Buckley is always amusing; this one was a little less fun than usual for him, imho. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Melissa Ennis | 2/6/2014

    " WHY aren't we using Florence's plan? Funny, true, tart, and sweet. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sue | 1/10/2014

    " Very entertaining skewering of everyone. A little hard to follow the made up details, but amusing. Good read when sick on the couch. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Heather Segale | 12/30/2013

    " pretty funny, good for car travel "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Eve | 12/29/2013

    " went on a buckley stint. this one was fun, but not as good as supreme courtship. always smart and amusing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rebecca | 11/14/2013

    " Buckley is great fun, a writer with a true sense of mischief. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Geoffrey | 11/5/2013

    " Good story; slightly, slightly disappointing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jessica | 10/21/2013

    " my favorite Buckley of all-- instructive about the Middle East the way the Daily Show is about the news and world events.... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cathy | 9/17/2013

    " Stretches the imagination a little too much, and a little bit muddled in places. This is a possibly fair depiction of the backwardness still existing in many regions of the Middle East, but also a bit exaggerated in a lot of ways, I'm sure. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sherry | 8/21/2013

    " Excellent satire. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Katy Defay | 7/12/2013

    " Leave it to Christopher Buckley to write a funny book about the middle east! Deliciously bad--I loved it! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Celticann | 6/6/2013

    " An interesting parellel to current Middle East events. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Irsyad Iskandar | 3/14/2013

    " A good book. Loved the satire of American-Arab relations. However I found it hard to like the main character. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Adam | 12/23/2012

    " Smart, biting satire of America's relationship with the modern Middle East. Not too heavy, but makes you think about how things really work in our government. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shira | 4/9/2012

    " Yet another delightful book by Buckley, this one will make you peer evermore closely at our policies in the Middle East. Read it for comic relief after reading Robert Baer's Sleeping with the Devil--which is puke-worthy in the way that only good political nonfiction can be. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tami | 10/25/2011

    " This book is so fiercely funny. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Julie | 10/13/2011

    " A catchy, quick read. Buckley takes on the treatment of women in fundamentalist Islamic countries with a bit of humor and even an attempt at romance. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cassandra | 9/16/2011

    " This is supposed to be a comedy, but it wasn't that funny. It was quite eye opening. I enjoyed it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sandra | 9/4/2011

    " Just too silly "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mike | 5/16/2011

    " A satirical adventure story about a minor State Department employee caught is a hilarious web of Middle Eastern sheiks and CIA buffoons. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 ?????? | 5/12/2011

    " ???? ??? ?? ?? ???? ??????: 2 ????? ?? ??? ????????, ???? ????? ?????? ????? ??????????? ????? ????????? :D "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tom | 1/30/2011

    " Can't quite make up my mind about this one. It is billed as being funny and there is some humor in it, but not all that much to my way of thinking. Maybe because I read it when there is so much unrest in the Middle East right now. I will try another of his novels and see if that helps. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sarah | 11/22/2010

    " Entertaining satire of current events, more amusing than outright funny. A bit by the numbers, but the numbers exist for a reason--because they work. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ebony | 9/23/2010

    " I don't think that I could ever say anything bad about Christopher Buckley. Anyone that can take women's rights in the middle east, public executions, and secret government organizations and make it funny is definately a keeper. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Norah | 9/11/2010

    " I loved the book !!Though it was a bit offensive, i thought it was entertaining yet it shed light on serious issues !!! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lynn | 6/28/2010

    " So far typical Buckley - very funny. Then got very interesting while ending with some of the irony missing. Not his best work for me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gregory | 5/14/2010

    " recommended by a friend. Funny and sarcastic...some value in its cultural theme...generally just a comical read "

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About the Author
Author Christopher Buckley

Christopher Buckley is a journalist, editor, and novelist. His books include Steaming to Bamboola, The White House Mess, Wet Work, and Thank You for Smoking. His three novels were selected as Notable Books of the Year by the New York Times. They have been translated into eight languages. He is the editor of Forbes FYI magazine, and lives in Washington, DC, with his wife, two children, and dog.

About the Narrator

Patricia Kathryn Kalember is an American actress best known for her role as Georgiana “Georgie” Reed Whitsig in the NBC drama series, Sisters. Kalember also had the leading roles in a number of television films and co-starred in several feature films including Fletch Lives, Signs, The Company Men, and Limitless, as well as recurring roles in the TV show Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.