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Terrorist
by John Updike

Overview - 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.  Read more...

 
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More About Terrorist by John Updike
 
 
 
Overview
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."

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780345493910
  • ISBN-10: 0345493915
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books
  • Publish Date: May 2007
  • Page Count: 310


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Books > Fiction > Literary

 
BookPage Reviews

Terrorist

Updike's latest novel examines the problem of terrorism through the story of 18-year-old Ahmad Mulloy Ashmawy. Ahmad lives in the decaying factory town of New Prospect, New Jersey, with his Irish-American mother. His father—an Egyptian exchange student—deserted the family when Ahmad was three. Ahmad is a good-looking kid, with polished manners and evident intelligence, all of which result in his being an outsider at school. Disillusioned with his mother, a would-be artist who can't seem to make a life for herself, Ahmad becomes a follower of Shaikh Rashid, the imam of a storefront mosque in New Prospect. In his isolation, he becomes preoccupied with the nature of God, and his strong religious impulses are preyed upon when Shaikh Rashid invites him to take part in a terrorist plot. Ahmad soon finds himself caught between two worlds—the secular one that includes school and people like Joryleen Grant, an African-American girl he is drawn to, and the world of religion, which leads him to the brink of danger. When Jack Levy, one of Ahmad's teachers, senses that all is not right with the boy, he tries to prevent his downfall. Updike writes with precision and sensitivity about a timely topic, adding a wealth of detail about Islamic religion. This is a disturbing book from a masterful novelist—a narrative that is sure to strike a nerve with readers.

 
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