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The Sirens of Baghdad (Hardcover): Yasmina Khadra

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The Sirens of Baghdad (Hardcover)

Yasmina Khadra

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List price R290 Loot Price R228 Discovery Miles 2 280 You Save R62 (21%)

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The logic of terrorism is taken to a virtually ultimate extent in this bloodcurdling successor to the pseudonymous author's highly praised novels (The Attack, 2006, etc.).It opens in Beirut, with its unnamed narrator's emotional condemnation of this polyglot metropolis corroded by contact with Western values. His conversations with Dr. Jalal, a renegade Arab critic of jihad "rehabilitated" as an enemy of the West, circle around the subject of the narrator's mission - which has brought him to Lebanon from Baghdad, whence he had moved from his native Bedouin village (Kafr Karam). The story thus told as an extended flashback embraces his experiences as the son of a disabled well-digger, a hopeful university student whose future plans were casualties of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and his own "re-education" as a victim of foreign invasion. Khadra skillfully solicits our identification with him by creating a persuasively detailed picture of nearly idyllic village life, then he shreds it. The narrator observes the horrific killing of a mentally retarded neighbor whose unstable behavior is misinterpreted by American G.I.s patrolling a highway checkpoint, learns of a missile strike that decimates a wedding party and seethes during a violent search that "shames" his father and his innocent family - and sets him on a vengeful course which is planned to end in a catastrophe "more awesome" than the events of 9/11. This potent novel's major weakness is its frequent recourse to redundant discursive religious and political argument. Its compensatory strength is in what might be called the anecdotal evidence of injustices and atrocities that motivate its protagonist's lethal momentum. And when Khadra discloses specific details of his "mission," the effect strikes like a thunderbolt; your hands all but turn to stone as you turn the pages.Perhaps the most frighteningly plausible doomsday scenario yet to appear in fictional treatments of this seemingly insoluble crisis. And if it doesn't scare the hell out of you, you're not paying enough attention. (Kirkus Reviews)
Forced to leave the University of Baghdad when the Americans invade Iraq, a young man from a small desert village returns home, where he witnesses three events that transform him. First, American soldiers at a checkpoint kill the sweet and beloved "village idiot." Several days later, an American plane bombs a wedding on the outskirts of the village. And then one night, soldiers looking for terrorists come to the young man's own home and humiliate his father in full view of the terrified family. Consumed by the desire to avenge this unspeakable act, the youth leaves the village for the city. Baghdad is going up in flames. The young man searches for a place to stay before being taken in by a radical group and convincing its members that he is willing to do anything to help their cause. After proving his mettle by participating in several attacks, he is sent to Beirut to undertake a super-secret mission which will take him to London. As the time to board the plane nears, he struggles to reconcile his mission with his moral principles. A masterful and chilling look at violence and its effects on ordinary people, "The Sirens of Baghdad" probes situations few writers dare examine. Powerfully written like Khadra's previous novels, it explores the depths of human nature and shows that, even in the most horrific circumstances, good can prevail.


Imprint: William Heinemann Ltd
Country of origin: United Kingdom
Release date: July 2007
Authors: Yasmina Khadra
Dimensions: 204 x 140 x 29mm (L x W x T)
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 320
ISBN-13: 978-0-434-01762-1
Categories: Books > Fiction > General & literary fiction > Modern fiction
LSN: 0-434-01762-0
Barcode: 9780434017621

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