Gargash has captured, in her protagonist’s story, the vanishing of an old way of life and the dawn of a new era in Dubai. The story takes place as the last of the big annual pearl dives set out, when the oil era was beginning. It’s a marvelous novel, deftly told, with language at once rich and stark. The research Gargash undertook to write the book shows in the depth of every aspect of the story. Yet it is not weighted down with ethnographic information. The details inform and seem to lift the plot along. It is like the slightest desert breeze blowing at dawn: understated, intoxicating, and true. I salute the author for this work. She’s excelled in every aspect of it: - character, plot, style, voice and setting. A hearty mabruk (congratulations) to the author. I hope she will write more.
— KC Campbell
The Sand Fish can only be described as a luscious book, crammed with ultra-sensory descriptions of the rugged mountains, the glorious seaside and the atmosphere of hovering change that took hold of the Arabian Emirates on the verge of the 60s. Gargash deliberately sets her tale in a lost world, giving it the chance to shine and fully engross the reader.
— Luise Toma

THE SAND FISH was published by Harpercollins in October 2009.

Set in the 1950s in what today is Dubai, THE SAND FISH is the story of a young woman from the mountains who is sent away from her family to become the third wife of a rich, much older pearl merchant.  Harper Paperbacks is proud to introduce this powerful female perspective on the Middle East.

Seventeen-year-old Noora is not like the other women of the sun-battered mountains of the Arabian Peninsula. She shares their poverty and uncomplaining existence in the harshness around her, but carries a fiery independence, having grown up with parents indifferent to the ways of society. With the death of her mother, her father sinks into madness. When her brother assumes control of the family and insists that she marry, Noora refuses, and flees to a nearby mountain village. There, she falls in love, only to discover to her horror that he is already promised to another of the village’s daughters. Shattered, Noora returns home to find that her father has disappeared and that her brother has arranged her marriage. She is to be third wife to a childless pearl merchant, and move to his “proper house” in a distant diving village. 

Exploring themes of freedom, independence, scandal and jealousy, THE SAND FISH is a window into a culture—and an inspiring, universal story of self-reliance.