Tuesday, May 30, 2006


The New York Times interviews John Updike about his latest book, "Terrorist"

John Updike says his 22nd novel, called "Terrorist", is a "loving portrait of a terrorist" who is from Patterson, NJ and blows up the Lincoln Tunnel

"Terrorist," which comes out from Alfred A. Knopf next week, is set in Paterson — or, rather, in a slightly smaller, tidier version of the city, called New Prospect — and is about just what the title says. Its protagonist is an 18-year-old named Ahmad, the son of a hippie-ish American mother and an Egyptian exchange student, now absent, who embraces Islam and is eventually recruited to blow up the Lincoln Tunnel.

The NYTimes reporter says the protagonist terrorist is "the most moral and thoughtful character in the entire book"

When Mr. Updike switched the protagonist's religion to Islam, he explained, it was because he "thought he had something to say from the standpoint of a terrorist."

He went on: "I think I felt I could understand the animosity and hatred which an Islamic believer would have for our system. Nobody's trying to see it from that point of view. I guess I have stuck my neck out here in a number of ways, but that's what writers are for, maybe."

Updike is now some sort of apologist-cum-expert on certain theological issues...

"A lot of the Koran does not speak very eloquently to a Westerner," he said. "Much of it is either legalistic or opaquely poetic. There's a lot of hellfire — descriptions of making unbelievers drink molten metal occur more than once. It's not a fuzzy, lovable book, although in the very next verse there can be something quite generous."
"Arabic is very twisting, very beautiful. The call to prayer is quite haunting; it almost makes you a believer on the spot. My feeling was, 'This is God's language, and the fact that you don't understand it means you don't know enough about God.' "

New York Times: In 'Terrorist,' a Cautious Novelist Takes On a New Fear

You don't want the Harvard/New Yorker version of an amiable terrorist. Here is a reading list that the Galvin Opinion recommends.

1) Jihad in the West: Muslim Conquests from the 7th to the 21st Centuries by Paul Fregosi
2) The Sword of the Prophet: History, Theology, Impact on the World by Serge Trifkovic
3) The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam: From Jihad to Dhimmitude : Seventh-Twentieth Century by Bat Ye'Or
4) While Europe Slept : How Radical Islam is Destroying the West from Within by Bruce Bawer
5) Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis by Bat Ye'Or
6) The Force of Reason by Oriana Fallaci
7) The Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims by Andrew Bostom


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