Reviews - What do customers think about The Pearl Diver?
Some UAE Heritage Jan 20, 2007
Dubai and the UAE have modernized so much, and so quickly, that by simply looking it's hard to get a sense of how life used to be. But here is a story of the pearling trade in the Gulf, what it was like for the workers and the families they left behind on shore. A well-written children's story, through its simplicity and narrative nature, can be as just as informative (if not more so) than lengthy treatises towards engendering cultural understanding. This story definitely succeeds in helping one gain a picture of how people lived at that time by letting them tell their own story. The motif of a father-son relationship, of the father passing his trade down to son, is a nice one. Nicely done watercolor illustrations.
Old Dubai Feb 22, 2004
We think of Dubai as the ultra-modern, glamorous new Arabia, but Julia Johnson's book is a reminder of its past. Even in recent times, before the oil, the riches of the Gulf were fish - and pearls. There has always been something magic about pearls, and any woman who wears them knows how they respond to the warmth of the skin, how they somehow reflect the softness of cashmere. In this book Julia Johnson tells the story of a little boy, Saeed, and his father, and what happened when for the first time Saeed accompanied him on one of the long diving expeditions aboard a sambuk - one of the great pearling boats.
The story is simple but detailed. It describes the often hazardous world of the pearl divers, and includes a glossary to help with Arab words and phrases. And it is quite beautifully illustrated by Patricia Al Fakhri, who watercolours perfectly match the transparent prose.
The more those of us in the west can read about the Arab world, and especially those parts of it that do not make headlines or uncomfortable news, the more understanding there will be between our peoples. This is a charming glimpse of that world, and one which Julia Johnson has recorded before it is lost under the glittering new one.