Saturday, September 02, 2006

Terrorist by John Updike

I am not always fond of Updike's work but have always admired his skill. The Terrorist is one of those books that inspires a "wow, can that boy write?" response. This is one of his best and considering that he has won every major book award for past work that is saying something.

Ahmad, a biracial American teenager, has connected deeply with his religion and has found a militant Imam to guide him in developing his spirituality. Because of this he becomes deeply disillusioned by America and all it has to offer. Eventually he hooks up with a fanatic who introduces him to a terrorist cell who plans to blow up the Holland tunnel.

I was skeptical that Updike could maintain the voices needed to carry it off. Having said that, a few of his characters are stereotypical in many ways but, since he is exploring the hysteria surrounding 9/11 and its aftermath, it worked for me.

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