I recently finished reading Yasmin Khadra’s The Attack, a novel revolving around the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The story is about Amin, an Arab-Israeli surgeon who is well-assimilated into Israeli society. He discovers — to his utter surprise — that his wife has blown herself up in a crowded restaurant inside Israel. Flabbergasted and devastated by her actions, Amin embarks on a journey of discovery in an attempt to understand the reasons behind his wife’s unexpected actions.
Khadra, whose real name is Mohammed Moulessehoul, does not take sides. Instead, he does quite a good job in presenting both sides of the bloody conflict. Written in the first person, human emotions are what drives this story. The narrator’s internal struggle is well presented and skillfully written. I highly recommend this book, especially to those that are seeking a better understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Here is a blurb from the New Yorker’s review:
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.