Monday, October 22, 2007

The Attack

Title: The Attack
Author: Yasmina Khadra
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 272
Edition: Hardcover

Dr. Amin Jaafari works as a surgeon at a local hospital in Tel Aviv. Jaafari, an Arab-Israeli citizen, is apolitical and highly revered by his colleagues for dedication to his profession. One day, a deadly bomb explosion causes havoc in a local restaurant. Atleast 19 were dead, 11 school children among them. Several people sustained many catastrophic injuries. Jaafari slogs his guts out all night at the emergency room saving as many lives as he can. Not soon after he reaches home, he is summoned back to the hospital to verify the identity of a corpse. It was none other than his lovely wife Sihem. What Jaafari finds more devastating is when the police officials deduced that his wife must have blown up the restaurant. She is bearing injuries similar to that of a suicide bomber. Her whole body is reduced to a pulp, except her beautiful face.

Jaafari feels completely befuddled when he tries to fathom why Sihem, his lovely wife, known to be an intelligent and caring woman, would commit such a crime. How could he knew so little about someone he loved and cared about all his life? Did Sihem leave any cues for him to pick up before she chose her destiny? Did she not enjoy a perfect life with him? Was he not a good husband to her? Why would she choose to suffer a horrific death?

At his wits' end, he quits his job and embarks on a treacherous voyage to find out why someone, his wife, in particular, would choose to become a martyr. He travels to Bethlehem, Jerusalem and Jenin searching for answers. Jaafari learns that deprivation of homeland could bring endless suffering and why martyrdom is a better choice for them.

Yasmina Khadra proves once again that he is an adept storyteller. Today, we live in a world where terrorism threatens to endanger our peaceful lives any moment. Hundreds of civilians lose their lives in suicide bombings everyday. Its aftermath is always horrendous. This novel offers a chilling look into a world, of terrorism, only a few people are beginning to understand. Another beautifully written novel!!

My Rating: 4/5


Radha said...

Loved your review!
While I was in Dubai, I watched this brilliant movie called "Paradise Now" based on a similar theme....understanding the mental make-up of a suicide bomber. For you & me it seems so unconceivable & yet there are hundreds of young people doing it.

Literary Feline said...

This is the only book I've read by this author--so far. I do want to read his other books as well though. The Attack was such a powerful book for me--very thought provoking. I am glad you enjoyed it as well.

Lotus Reads said...

Chitts, I was completely blown away by "The Attack" was an extremely powerful read, one that actually challenges how and what we think about the situation in Palestine, atleast it did for me.

As always, you have written a wonderful review, thank you!

Nyssaneala said...

This sounds like a wonderful and powerful book. I loved your review!

karmic said...

I loved your review, sounds like a powerful book. There is an HBO documentary coming out on Nov 1 st that is sort of related but not quite. Link from the NY Times here.

Happy Reader said...

@Radha ~ Thanks for letting me know about the movie "Paradise Now". I would really like to watch it some day!

@Literary Feline, @Lotus ~ The book sheds light on so many sensitive issues, it indeed was such a powerful read!

@nyssaneala ~ Thanks! Hope you get to read some of his books.

@Sanjay ~ Thank you so much for the documentary link! It was a heart-wrenching story.

I really applaud Rachel Levy's mother for going after the suicide bomber's family as part of her quest for answers. No doubt, She had acted with such commendable bravery! Apparently, the documentary is going to be featured in the '2007 Jerusalem Film Festival'.

The story reminds me of another book I read a while ago..'A Woman in Jerusalem'. It recounts the story of a woman, a victim of terrorist bombing in Jerusalem market and the ordeal her employer has to go through in order to give her a dignified funeral at her birthplace. You can read more here...