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The Attack Paperback – April 25, 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor; Reprint edition (April 25, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307275701
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307275707
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (117 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,522 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Khadra, the pseudonym of Mohammed Moulessehoul, an exiled Algerian writer celebrated for his politically themed fiction (The Swallows of Kabul), turns his attention to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in this moving novel unlikely to satisfy partisans on either side of the issue. Dr. Amin Jaafari is a man caught between two worlds; he's a Bedouin Arab surgeon struggling to integrate himself into Israeli society. The balancing act becomes impossible when the terrorist responsible for a suicide bombing that claims 20 lives, including many children, is identified as Jaafari's wife by the Israeli police. Jaafari's disbelief that his secular, loving spouse committed the atrocity is overcome when he receives a letter from her posthumously. In an effort to make sense of her decision, Jaafari plunges into the Palestinian territories to discover the forces that recruited her. Khadra, who nicely captures his hero's turmoil in trying to come to terms with the endless violence, closes on an appropriately grim note. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From The New Yorker

Dr. Amin Jaafari, an Israeli Arab, seems fully assimilated into Tel Aviv society, with a loving wife, a successful career as a surgeon, and numerous Jewish friends. But after a restaurant bombing kills nineteen people, and it becomes apparent that his wife was the bomber, he plunges into the world of Islamic extremism, trying to understand how he missed signs of her intentions. Khadra (the nom de plume of Mohammed Moulessehoul) vividly captures Jaafari's anguish and his anger at the fanatics who recruited his wife. The Israelis don't escape lightly, either, as their army marches over law-abiding Arab citizens in an attempt to stamp out the militants. Khadra's writing has a tendency toward cliché, but the book's dark vision of the conflict is powerful.
Copyright © 2006 The New Yorker --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Yasmina Khadra is the pseudonym of the Algerian writer Mohammed Moulessehoul, born in 1956. A high ranking officer in the Algerian army, he went into exile in France in 2000, where he now lives in seclusion. In his several writings on the civil war in Algeria, Khadra exposes the current regime and the fundamentalist opposition as the joint guilty parties in the Algerian Tragedy. Before his admission of identity in 2001, a leading critic in France wrote, 'A he or a she? It doesn't matter. What matters is that Yasmina Khadra is today one of Algeria's most important writers.'

Customer Reviews

END SPOILER* The story is well written and holds your interest; the book is hard to put down.
R. Nicholson
Even though, this book is a fiction, many readers can think this book "based on a true story" because of the way the writer described the pain and truth.
Neo-NYC
Israel has been unfailingly good to him, for which he is grateful beyond measure, yet he is still seen as an Arab first and foremost by many.
M. Brown

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

60 of 61 people found the following review helpful By William Capodanno VINE VOICE on September 17, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book shook me to the core. It is the story of Dr. Amin Jafaari, a well-respected and successful surgeon in a Tel Aviv hospital who also happens to be an Israeli-Arab. The book opens with a devastating suicide attack in Tel Aviv. Amin's hospital is immediately mobilized and he "goes into action" trying to save innocent victims from the terrorist attack that ultimately claims 17 lives. As Amin heads home to recover from his exhaustion, he expects to find comfort from his wife Sihem. He is surprised and puzzled to find the house empty and Sihem yet to return from a three-day visit to her relatives near Nazareth.

Amin is awakened by a phone call five hours later, still disoriented from a lack of sleep, and called back to the hospital by his detective friend, Navid with still no idea about the reality about to confront him -- Sihem is suspected of being the suicide bomber.

The book is a remarkable story about Amin's attempt to come to grips with the incomprehensibility of the situation now confronting him. Was his wife really capable of such an "evil" act? If she was, could he have been "blind" to this? How could he have not been aware of what drove her to make such a choice? Did she betray him in any other ways?

While such a personal journey could provide for compelling reading, in Khadra's hand, the broader context of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict provides an even more provocative, timely and reflective book. Khadra doesn't impose answers on the readers. What he does do is reflect remarkably vivid portrait of the fear, destruction, stereotypes and complexity of the reality facing individuals on all sides of the conflict.
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Format: Hardcover
The novel begins in Tel Aviv with a rocket attack, the mayhem and chaos immediate and devastating, the street littered with the wounded and dying, the story segueing into the life of Dr. Amin Jaafari, a surgeon at a Tel Aviv hospital who dedicates his days to healing, basking in a contented marriage to the beautiful Sihem. As a suicide bomb explodes not far away, the doctor works long into the night to save the victims, returning to a silent house, belatedly remembering that his wife is due to return that evening after visiting her grandmother. By morning, Sihem has not returned, but Amin is unfazed, imagining she has just extended her stay. Later, at the hospital, the doctor is approached by the Israeli police, required to identify a body, that of the suicide bomber, who, to they have determined, is his wife, all but her lovely face destroyed by the explosion.

His mind shattered by this revelation, Amin returns home with the police, who dismantle his home and question him exhaustively to determine his possible involvement in the crime. By his release, Jaafari's life is forever altered, although he still resists acknowledging that his wife is a killer of children, a keeper of secrets and a betrayer of their vows. His emotions churning, Jaafari leaves his professional world for the war-torn Palestine territories where Sihem spent her final days, the distraught husband plunging into dangerous places where he is unwelcome, careless of his safety in pursuit of truth. Instead he finds a bottomless well of suffering, confronted by his own failings and his inability to see his wife as she really was: "I would have idealized her less and idolized her less...how could I live her when I never stopped dreaming her?
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By HORAK on September 8, 2007
Format: Paperback
Amin Jaafari is a hard-working and talented surgeon at a busy Tel Aviv hospital, two generations away from his Arab origins. He is wealthy, popular with his Jewish colleagues, and devoted to his wife Sihem. The novel opens with Amin taking charge of the chaos in the emergency room after a suicide bomber attacks a restaurant in the Hakirya district of Tel Aviv, killing 19 people including a group of schoolchildren at a birthday party. Subsequently Amin is stopped and searched four times by Israeli policemen on the way home. He only wakes up to his own misfortune when he learns that Sihem has been killed in the bombing and that her wounds correspond to those found on suicide bombers.
Amin refuses to believe that Sihem could have committed such an act of terror. He expects her to return soon from Kfar Kanna where she is visiting her old grandmother. Disbelief gives way to horror when Sihem's last letter, posted from Bethlehem, turns up in his post box. As a consequence of Sihem's attack Amin's life, ambition, values and friendships disintegrate. He locks himself up in a nightmare of drink and despair in which he reflects on every aspect of his life, nationality and marriage. A Jewish colleague, Kim Yehuda, calls Amin back from the brink. He retraces Sihem's last journey from Tel Aviv to Bethlehem and back again. There Amin is repeatedly beaten up: by the Shin Bet, his Tel Aviv neighbours and Palestinian militants in the West Bank towns of Bethlehem and Jenin that were under siege by the Israeli army. Nevertheless he clings to his belief that as a surgeon his fight consists in recreating life in the place where death has chosen to conduct its manoeuvres.
The Attack uses both suicide bombing and the fate of many Israeli citizens who are of Arab origin.
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