3 out of 4 stars
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Life, generally, is not a bed of roses. It is full of ups and downs. Everyone has their fair share of challenges and the Middle Easterners are not left out.
Divided world by Kenneth Pickering is a collection of plays centered on the life of the Middle Easterners. It depicted their challenges and the wars they faced. It was put together by three playwrights and edited with an introduction by Kenneth Pickering. The playwrights' profiles are added in the book. The book contains eight plays. Each play had a theme it intended to portray to its readers.
The first play, "Exploring the Boundaries", was one that portrayed the covert signing of the 'Sykes-Picot' arrangement. This aided the division of the territories and ancient boundaries of the Middle East among France and Britain in 1915. The play had its first performance in 2015 at a conference organized by York St John's University, where the conference participants commented critically on the contexts and outcomes of the agreement. The agreement had an impact on the people of the region and the play revealed it. Some of the plays showed the Middle Easterners' quest for a better life. Some don't succeed, some do but find out they don't belong in those places while others fit in wherever they found themselves.
My favourite play is the "The Several Beheadings of Ashraf Fayadh". It was interesting to see different outcomes play out for the same situation. The plots were interesting and easy to follow. The character development was good. The characters were properly introduced and were all relevant to the plots. I did not have issues recognizing the characters. The playwrights captured the reader's emotions.
The play I did not quite like is the "American Nightmare". I found some of its content disgusting and humiliating. It was a case of revenge in form of sexual degradation. At some point, I had to remind myself it was fiction. One of the plays was dedicated to a poet and art curator who was sentenced to death for apostasy by a Saudi court, I was shocked by this revelation. I rate Divided World by Kenneth Pickering 3 out of 4 stars.
There were kissing and sex scenes which were not too graphic. There was a scene about bombing but it was not vivid. They were instances of profanity. For the above reasons, this book is not suitable for young people. I would say it was professionally edited as I did not notice up to ten errors. The book has some religious inclinations and those who mind should steer clear. People who love plays that engage their emotions would enjoy this.
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