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)
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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