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Terrorist: A Novel

by

Terrorist: A Novel Cover

ISBN13: 9780345493910
ISBN10: 0345493915
Condition: Standard
All Product Details

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Review-A-Day

"John Updike should have run a thousand miles away from this subject — at least as soon as he saw the results on the page....Despite all the Koranic homework, there is a sense that what is alien in Islam to a Westerner remains alien to John Updike. What he has discovered, yet again, is merely the generalized fluid of God-plus-sex that has run throughout all his novels." James Wood, The New Republic (read the entire New Republic review)

"Terrorist is a wonderfully sharp work. Part extreme coming-of-age story, part thriller, it is carefully plotted, articulate, and fortified with good writing. But it also has an old-fashioned willingness to make the great problems of the day personal, human-scale, and funny, and it is for this reason that Terrorist is a book to admire and be entertained by at once." Anna Godbersen, Esquire (read the entire Esquire review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

John Updike has written a brilliant novel that ranks among the most provocative of his distinguished career. Terrorist is the story of Ahmad Ashmawy Mulloy, an alienated American-born teenager who spurns the materialistic, hedonistic life he witnesses in the slumping New Jersey factory town he calls home. Turning to the words of the Holy Qur'an as expounded to him by the pedantic imam of a local mosque, Ahmad devotes himself fervently to God. Neither the world-weary guidance counselor at his high school nor Ahmad's mischievously seductive classmate Joryleen succeeds in deflecting him from his course, as the threads of an insidious plot gather around him.

Review:

"This marvelous novel can be accurately labeled as a 9/11 novel, but it deserves also the label of masterpiece for its carefully nuanced building up of the psychology of those who traffic in terrorism. Timely and topical, poised and passionate, it is a high mark in Updike's career." Booklist (Starred Review)

Review:

"So smooth is Updike in putting his grotesques through their paces — effortlessly putting them in each others' orbits — that his contempt for them enhances rather than spoils the novel." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

Review:

"Unfortunately, the would-be terrorist in this novel turns out to be a completely unbelievable individual....Though Mr. Updike manages to extract a fair amount of suspense from Ahmad's story, he does so with the heavy reliance on unbelievable coincidence." Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

Review:

"A chilling tale that is perhaps the most essential novel to emerge from Sept. 11." People

Review:

"Discursiveness, coincidence and a barely credible surprise ending compromise, but do not critically impair, Updike's intriguing 22nd novel....Updike, approaching his mid-70s, continues to entice, provoke and astonish." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"In the end, Terrorist fails not because the subject matter is too foreign but because of lackadaisical prose, poorly drawn characters and a narrative that plods along for 288 pages before culminating abruptly and unsatisfactorily." The Oregonian

Review:

"The most satisfactory elements in Terrorist are those that remind us that no amount of special pleading can set us free of history, no matter how oblivious and unresponsive to it we may be. And that history, in disposing of empires, admits of no innocents and spares no one." Robert Stone, The New York Times Book Review

Review:

"[F]or all its marvelous writing and philosophical cogency, Updike's Terrorist is an awkward, overdetermined drama acted out by gritty urban characters he can't bring to life....These are characters — and this is a thriller — that Richard Price should have written. (Grade: C+)" Entertainment Weekly

Review:

"One compelling and surprising ride." USA Today

Review:

"Updike...has written something like a teen coming-of-age story, but he wants his 24 moment too and indulges in some gratuitous button-pushing along the way....In a certain regard, Terrorist is an interesting, if failed, thought experiment." Los Angeles Times

Synopsis:

The terrorist of John Updike’s title is eighteen-year-old Ahmad Ashmawy Mulloy, the son of an Irish American mother and an Egyptian father who disappeared when he was three. Devoted to Allah and to the Qur’an as expounded by the imam of his neighborhood mosque, Ahmad feels his faith threatened by the materialistic, hedonistic society he sees around him in the slumping New Jersey factory town of New Prospect. Neither Jack Levy, his life-weary guidance counselor at Central High, nor Joryleen Grant, his seductive black classmate, succeeds in diverting Ahmad from what the Qur’an calls the Straight Path. Now driving a truck for a local Lebanese furniture store—a job arranged through his imam—Ahmad thinks he has discovered God’s purpose for him. But to quote the Qur’an: Of those who plot, God is the best.

Synopsis:

Born of an Irish-American mother and an Egyptian father long since disappeared, 18-year-old Ahmad craves spiritual nurture and is drawn into an insidious plot.

About the Author

John Updike was born in 1932, in Shillington, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Harvard College in 1954 and spent a year in Oxford, England, at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art. From 1955 to 1957 he was a member of the staff of The New Yorker and since 1957 has lived in Massachusetts. He is the father of four children and the author of more than fifty books, including collections of short stories, poems, and criticism. His novels have won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the American Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Rosenthal Award, and the Howells Medal.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

film_ronin, April 24, 2007 (view all comments by film_ronin)
For years, I have looked at Mr. Updike's picture on dust jackets and in articles and wondered at the character of the man. Was he as affable as he appeared? Was the boyish grin and relaxed manner portrayed in shades of gray, a literary affectation? A marketing device, a public persona for the sale racks or something more sublime? Was the authors character, as poured out on countless pages in numerous volumes, really coming through.
I had been planning on attending the conference at the University of Memphis (Freedom of Information Congress or some such monicker) for over a week, after having seen an ad in the Memphis Flyer announcing that Pulitzer Prize winning author John Updike would be there to give a reading of his latest work and a sampling of his poetry.
Despite Hemingway's admonitions that an author should write his words and not speak them, I like to go hear authors speak whenever I get the chance. As Papa Hemingway once put it "Writing is a lonely business...", so more the thought to share a moment with those that seek to capture those moments through talented prose.
Mr.Updike spoke with great warmth and charm, almost like an like a long lost uncle-having made an unannounced drop in for a holiday meal. Charming as any n'er do well, but not without his own currency and not needing to curry favor with this eager audience, his sprightly manner held us rapt for the evening.
His first reading was from the first chapter of the last novel of the 'Rabbit' series. It was a real treat to hear the words spoken aloud by the author that wrote them; given life and breath by the man that first conceived them.
Next, a reading from "Terrorist", Updike's new novel about the youth and life of a American boy, Ahmad of Arabic-Irish American descent. The only son of a single mother whose father left when he was three, Ahmad faces the struggle for independence and identity in the often awful world of adolescence and high school. For Ahmad, high school is a confusing mixture of temptations and turbulent emotions. Ahmad finds solace in Islam and the father figure of Shaik Rashid, a 'storefront mullah'. Rashid instructs Ahmad in the ways of Islam and later grooms & manipulates Ahmad into a terrorist plot. Jack Levy, Ahmad's guidance counselor later vies for Ahmad's faith and seeks to save him from a fatalistic and fanatic world view.
In the hours before his scheduled appearance at the conference, Updike made the pilgrimage to Graceland. From his demeanor his visit to Graceland was one of rememberance and remorse. 'A triumph of the tacky', so he said,but also unexpectedly moving and a bit sad in the way that we view an old friend to whom time has not been kind. For the love of music and greatness of what was to him in youth the stepping stones to a new age and new art, became the stumbling blocks of age and indiscretion. When John Updike was a youth entering the hallowed halls of Harvard, Elvis was also young (Elvis was three years his junior) and entering the offices of Sun Records-leaving the secure job of truck driver for Crown Electric, for a less certain career as a singer. Updike remembers music being changed forever by Elvis, by the time he left college. I was pleased to hear that Mr.Updike's son had worked in Corinth, MS after college. So he had occasion to visit there and the civil war battlefield ,which inspired thought & a poem of that conflict long past.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780345493910
Author:
Updike, John
Publisher:
Random House Trade Paperbacks
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Terrorism
Subject:
Egyptian Americans
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
fiction;terrorism;islam;novel;new jersey;american;thriller;literature;american literature;21st century;updike;contemporary;contemporary fiction;fundamentalism;usa;america
Copyright:
Edition Number:
Reprint ed.
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Large Print:
Y
Publication Date:
May 29, 2007
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
8 x 5.16 x .69 in .5 lb

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Related Subjects


Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Terrorist: A Novel Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$2.95 In Stock
Product details 320 pages Ballantine Books - English 9780345493910 Reviews:
"Review A Day" by , "John Updike should have run a thousand miles away from this subject — at least as soon as he saw the results on the page....Despite all the Koranic homework, there is a sense that what is alien in Islam to a Westerner remains alien to John Updike. What he has discovered, yet again, is merely the generalized fluid of God-plus-sex that has run throughout all his novels." (read the entire New Republic review)
"Review A Day" by , "Terrorist is a wonderfully sharp work. Part extreme coming-of-age story, part thriller, it is carefully plotted, articulate, and fortified with good writing. But it also has an old-fashioned willingness to make the great problems of the day personal, human-scale, and funny, and it is for this reason that Terrorist is a book to admire and be entertained by at once." (read the entire Esquire review)
"Review" by , "This marvelous novel can be accurately labeled as a 9/11 novel, but it deserves also the label of masterpiece for its carefully nuanced building up of the psychology of those who traffic in terrorism. Timely and topical, poised and passionate, it is a high mark in Updike's career."
"Review" by , "So smooth is Updike in putting his grotesques through their paces — effortlessly putting them in each others' orbits — that his contempt for them enhances rather than spoils the novel."
"Review" by , "Unfortunately, the would-be terrorist in this novel turns out to be a completely unbelievable individual....Though Mr. Updike manages to extract a fair amount of suspense from Ahmad's story, he does so with the heavy reliance on unbelievable coincidence."
"Review" by , "A chilling tale that is perhaps the most essential novel to emerge from Sept. 11."
"Review" by , "Discursiveness, coincidence and a barely credible surprise ending compromise, but do not critically impair, Updike's intriguing 22nd novel....Updike, approaching his mid-70s, continues to entice, provoke and astonish."
"Review" by , "In the end, Terrorist fails not because the subject matter is too foreign but because of lackadaisical prose, poorly drawn characters and a narrative that plods along for 288 pages before culminating abruptly and unsatisfactorily."
"Review" by , "The most satisfactory elements in Terrorist are those that remind us that no amount of special pleading can set us free of history, no matter how oblivious and unresponsive to it we may be. And that history, in disposing of empires, admits of no innocents and spares no one."
"Review" by , "[F]or all its marvelous writing and philosophical cogency, Updike's Terrorist is an awkward, overdetermined drama acted out by gritty urban characters he can't bring to life....These are characters — and this is a thriller — that Richard Price should have written. (Grade: C+)"
"Review" by , "One compelling and surprising ride."
"Review" by , "Updike...has written something like a teen coming-of-age story, but he wants his 24 moment too and indulges in some gratuitous button-pushing along the way....In a certain regard, Terrorist is an interesting, if failed, thought experiment."
"Synopsis" by , The terrorist of John Updike’s title is eighteen-year-old Ahmad Ashmawy Mulloy, the son of an Irish American mother and an Egyptian father who disappeared when he was three. Devoted to Allah and to the Qur’an as expounded by the imam of his neighborhood mosque, Ahmad feels his faith threatened by the materialistic, hedonistic society he sees around him in the slumping New Jersey factory town of New Prospect. Neither Jack Levy, his life-weary guidance counselor at Central High, nor Joryleen Grant, his seductive black classmate, succeeds in diverting Ahmad from what the Qur’an calls the Straight Path. Now driving a truck for a local Lebanese furniture store—a job arranged through his imam—Ahmad thinks he has discovered God’s purpose for him. But to quote the Qur’an: Of those who plot, God is the best.
"Synopsis" by , Born of an Irish-American mother and an Egyptian father long since disappeared, 18-year-old Ahmad craves spiritual nurture and is drawn into an insidious plot.
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