The idea of this blog is to facilitate the love of reading by collecting news about new books, or sometimes good old books. It is also dedicated to stamping out the scourge of e-books, Kindles, Kobo's, i-Pads, and all other such abominations.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

The Attack

As the tragic war has been unfolding in Lebanon these past few weeks, I have been immersed in THE ATTACK by Yasmina Kadra. Some of you will recognize him as the author of the SWALLOWS OF KABUL. Kadra is the pseudomym of Mohammed Moulessehoul, an Algerian army officer.

The novel begins in Tel Aviv, at the Ichilov Hospital where Dr. Amin Jaafari, an Arab-Israeli surgeon is working to save the lives of victims of a suicide bomber.
A suicide bomber has entered a fast food restaurant and killed 19 people, 11 of them children.

Dr. Jaafari's nightmare begins when his wife, the beautiful Sihem, is identified as the suicide bomber. He cannot comprehend what has happened. He had no inkling that his wife lived another life. Jaafari felt he had successfully bridged the Arab- Israeli divide by becoming a respected surgeon in an Israeli hospital, and making friends within his community. He and Sihem lived in a lovely home and he had realized the dream of his father, becoming a healer. Now he has lost everything. A note posted by Sihem just before the bombing convinces him that in fact she was the bomber. He is obsessed with finding out how Sihem could have
belonged to a terrorist cell and carried out this barbaric act while she seemingly lived an idyllic life with him.

His journey takes him from his home in Tel Aviv, where he was arrested, interrogated and badly beaten by his neighbours to a seaside village accompanied by his friend and doctor, Kim. He continues on to Bethlehem, a city "filled with hordes of refugees living in hovels". He finds his brother-in-law, Yassar who will provide some information and more importantly confronts the radical Imam Marwan.

We the readers are on a journey with Dr. Jaafari to discover what fuels terrorists
and terrorism. In exchanges with the Imam, his cousin, Adel and with a commander who
captures and tortures him, Jaafari must come to grips with the fact that his people are consumed with anger, hatred and rage from the humiliation they have suffered. When he chose to become a doctor, he distanced himself from the the rage and need for
retaliation. But in fact he can not escape. Sihem believed " there could be no happiness without freedom" and "no dreams were possible without freedom". Thus she was compelled to act.

The novel comes full circle. The characters, both Israeli and Arab are believable and the communities of the Middle East come alive. This book is an interesting exploration of how complex and difficult a world both the Arabs and the Israelis must deal with. I found it fascinating.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you, Thora. I was unaware of this book and am pleased to be made aware of it. Everytime I encounter you my head goes away swarming with amzing books of whose existence I had no inkling. A similar writer I am interested in is Eddet Ravel. Have you read anyhting by her?

8:05 AM  

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