The Emptiest Quarter

By Raymond Beauchemin




The four novellas in The Emptiest Quarter find their inspiration in the sands and streets of Abu Dhabi, where author Raymond Beauchemin lived for four years, a time that overlapped with the building of the Louvre and Guggenheim museums and the opening of Sorbonne and NYU campuses, the convulsions of the Arab Spring and the eruption of civil war in Syria. The characters who populate The Emptiest Quarter live at both the center and the fringes of the conflict between preservation and progress, including sheikhs, western oil-and-gas men, burnt-out journalists, pearl divers, Filipina caregivers and Indian taxi drivers, all striving to find themselves, to find love, to find balance in ever-shifting sands. 

Raymond Beauchemin was born in western Massachusetts and has worked at newspapers in Hartford, Boston, Montreal, Toronto and Abu Dhabi. He is the author of the novels Everything I Own and These Days Are Nights, and editor of several anthologies. He lives and writes in Ontario, Canada.


"Beauchemin is a master storyteller who fittingly has chosen a cast of storytellers to weave poignant, delicate and yet powerful tales of family lore among the political history and cultural complexities at work in the land we know today as the United Arab Emirates ... Bold, lyrical in parts and yet unflinching and raw in their portrayal of how one nation and its residents chart a course between modernity, religious faith and strict social, personal and political hierarchies, these four marvellous novellas show us the emptiest quarter is not only the external place we must negotiate in the geographical world but also one that resides within."- Jackie Copleton, Author of A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding

"Read Beauchemin, a writer of place and memories, skilled practitioner of stealth. Wait. Process what he has done to your heart and mind." -Deepak Unnikrishnan, Author of Temporary People