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Peter Fortunato lived and worked in the Persian Gulf emirate of Qatar during an exciting, transformational time for that Muslim nation, as well for him, personally and professionally. A poet and a Buddhist, the author taught at the newly opened branch of Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar’s capital, Doha. His memoir is a rich account of the surreal quality of life in this petroleum-wealthy, desert nation.
Praise for Desert Wind: My Life in Qatar
Readers will be engaged by the author’s vivid evocations and zest for life at the rare intersection of cultural exploration, poetry, psychology, politics, education, spirituality, the thrill of nature, and a sense for the beyond. The book is a whole journey in itself!
—Patrick Laude, Georgetown University
The author’s personal account of his life in this desert oasis, and his insatiable appetite to learn about the culture and its people, give us a behind-the-scenes look into his experiences there as a poet, teacher, student, and explorer.
Desert Wind is a fascinating account of Peter Fortunato’s adventures and contains engrossing conversations with people of many nationalities and all walks of life. Readers will learn about Qatari culture, the views of Asian and Western expats working in the country, and his students’ aspirations and interactions with this wise teacher. In the end, Fortunato undergoes his own transformation of profound self-acceptance and compassion.
—Alice McDowell, Ph.D., author of Dance of Light and Hidden Treasure
Desert Wind joins other memoirs of adventures in foreign places, and will delight readers curious about contemporary Arab culture and in particular about Qatar, often mentioned in the news, but still vague to most Westerners. For comparison, Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi, a perennial best seller, comes to mind, but so far, Mr. Fortunato’s account of his expatriate life in Qatar is unique in its breadth—nor has anyone else examined their experiences in this Muslim state through the lens of Buddhism.
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