Kirkus Reviews – Between Us Only! Short Takes – Two!
BETWEEN US ONLY!
Short Takes – Two!
Al Suleimany, Majid
CreateSpace (626 pp.)
$28.00 paperback, $12.00 e-book
ISBN: 978-1482323603; February 28, 2013
Al Suleimany (Being the Safe Driver!, 2013, etc.) collects his wide-ranging columns from the Oman Daily Observer (an English daily) into one volume.
Subject matter here ranges from Omani politics to social ills, workplace life and religious reflections. Of the book’s purpose, Al Suleimany writes: “It is hoped that people will buy this book for the greater cause of people talking and communicating to each other—and in building tolerance, patience, understanding, love, togetherness and oneness in humanity—as the main theme and focus of this book—and in spreading these universal messages to mankind.”
He treats each disparate topic with the same sensibility, keeping his stated purpose at the forefront. With a tone by turns admonishing and casual, he manages to make moral pronouncements without coming across as condescending or pedantic. Many of his moral concerns center on matters of etiquette, both in the workplace and at home. He writes, “As a human resources professional and consultant, even I have found dealing with family members as the most hard, complex and difficult in comparisons! (sic) Jobs are definitely much easier!”
His opinions are informed by his religion; for instance, in a discussion of debt, he reminds his readers that the Surah II Al Baqarah reads, “If the debtor is in a difficulty, grant him time till it is easy for him to repay.” The profusion of articles is arranged alphabetically by topic, with a table of contents. Despite the status as a collection, the work is more or less disjointed; often, it’s not immediately clear what topic a particular piece seeks to discuss. What redeems the disorder, however, is the force of Al Suleimany’s personality, which comes through in every article, no matter the topic.
A well-rounded perspective of Omani life. Indeed, this is a great write from a great author in the Middle East.