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Cultural notebook

In Abu Dhabi, the Arab novel is being thrust towards a global stage. But is Waterstone's ready for metatextual religious sagas?

By Sam Leith   May 2009

I texted my friend Ed from the car park. Ed—a former middle east correspondent for the Economist and the best-travelled person I know—would know what to do.

“I’m in Abu Dhabi,” I wrote. “What should I do?”

“Go to the mall,” suggested Ed’s text.

That didn’t sound very cultural. “So apart from the mall, what would you do in Abu Dhabi?”

“Cry!” advised the best-travelled person I know. “Well no. Go to the beach at one of the posh hotels. Or take a cab to Dubai.”

Ed’s unkind diagnosis seems…

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