Yasmina Khadra’s The Attack

This weekend I tried reading Yasmina Khadra’s The Attack, translated by John Cullen. Khadra, you may recall, is the pseudonym of Algerian novelist (and ex army officer) Mohamed Moulessehoul. While his earlier work was set in his native Algeria, The Swallows of Kabul was set in Afghanistan, The Attack is set in Israel, and his latest, The Sirens of Baghdad, is set in Iraq. (By the way, do you think his next one will be set in Iran? With a title like The Sparrows of Tehran?)

The Attack is about a successful Arab Israeli surgeon named Amin Jaafari who works to save the many victims of a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv, only to discover that his wife Sihem was behind the terrorist attack. Let’s just say I couldn’t get very far into the novel. I thought it relied too much on cliché both in terms of character development, and in terms of the language itself (e.g., “The eyes in [a sheikh] ascetic’s face glinted like the blade of a scimitar.”)