Dubai has inspired more than one novel. Karim Sahib / AFP

Fictions must reflect the real Dubai

If one had to name a city that stirs envy in the hearts of most, Dubai would be one of the first places that would come to mind. Many books written about the city adopt a satirical and acidic tone, either stemming from a negative personal experience or from broad misconceptions brought about by the briefest of surveys.

As The National reported yesterday, the swift ascension of the city of lights, dubbed “abracadopolis” by Joseph O’Neill in The Dog, has inspired more than one novel, although most of these works tend to be written by authors who have but a passing acquaintance with Dubai or Abu Dhabi.

It's not surprising that some of these novels barely move beyond shallow stereotypes. For a more nuanced survey of Abu Dhabi at least, Deepak Unnikrishnan’s non-fiction work Temporary People reflects the life of migrants in the Gulf in a manner that conveys the reality of living in a place where elsewhere is “home”.

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