The Monk of Mokha
Mokhtar Alkhanshali grew up in San Francisco, one of seven siblings brought up by Yemeni immigrants in a tiny apartment. At age 24, unable to pay for college, he works as a doorman, until a statue of an Arab raising a cup of coffee awakens something in him. He sets out to learn the rich history of coffee in Yemen and the complex art of tasting and identifying varietals. He travels to Yemen and visits countless farms, collecting samples, eager to bring improved cultivation methods to the countryside. He is on the verge of success when civil war engulfs Yemen in 2015. The US Embassy closes, Saudi bombs begin to rain down on the country, and Mokhtar is trapped in Yemen. Desperate to escape, he embarks on a passage that has him negotiating with duelling political factions and twice kidnapped at gunpoint. With no other options, he hires a skiff to take him, and his coffee samples, across the Red Sea.
A heart-pounding true story that weaves together the history of coffee, the ongoing Yemeni civil war and the courageous journey of a young man. (From Knopf)
The Monk of Mokha is available in January 2018.