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The Attack Hardcover – 6 Jul 2006

22 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: William Heinemann Ltd (6 July 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 043401558X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0434015580
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.5 x 20.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 917,945 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Yasmina Khadra is the author of more than 20 novels, including The Swallows of Kabul and The Attack, both shortlisted for the IMPAC literary award. Khadra's work has been published in 45 countries. He has twice been honoured by the Académie française, winning both the Médaille de vermeil (2001) and Grand Prix de littérature (2012).

Photo copyright E. Robert-Espalieu

Product Description


"A powerful and thought-provoking novel" (Guardian)

"A moving, often troubling exploration of faith, self-belief and identity... The writing has a rare courage. This is a novel from a skilled storyteller working at the height of his powers" (Times Literary Supplement)

"Khadra has an easy-going style, and tailors his discussions of the Arab-Israeli conflict to the form of a thriller. The fuse lit at the beginning of the novel crackles through the story to its clever destination" (James Francken Daily Telegraph)

"Khadra is a passionately moral writer, but he rarely sits in judgement... A magnificent novel, believable and moving" (Literary Review)

"The characters are not mere mouthpieces - above all else, this is a novel about a man who feels himself betrayed. Amin Jaafie's very human drama is the heart of this thoughtful and affecting work" (Kamila Shamsie New Statesman) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

A strikingly powerful novel exploring the motivations of a suicide bomber in Israel, told through the eyes of her husband.

Now an award-winning film, winner of the Frankfurt Book Fair prize for best literary film adaptation.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By SJSmith TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 22 July 2007
Format: Hardcover
The concept of this book is excellent. From the moment I opened it I felt engaged. `The Attack' comes to mean many things throughout the book. Firstly though, it is the culmination of his wife being found in a local restaurant that has been bombed; her injuries typical of those of a suicide bomber. As a respected surgeon at a hospital in Tel Aviv (and an Israeli Arab) he is stopped frequently on his journeys home and now with this, his life is thrown completely into turmoil. It is revealed that he has played no part in her other life and that Sihem (Dr Amin Jaafari's wife) was not the woman he thought she was, or married.

I initially thought the author was a woman but then realised from searching (it does mention it in the book but I hadn't seen it) is a pseudonym and that Mohammed Moulessehoul is a veteran Algerian army officer. Having written six novels under his real name in Algeria the army then imposed unacceptable conditions and his work became censored. Following a refusal to do this his wife suggested he wrote under her name and this he did until leaving the army.

Throughout the book Amin Jaafari goes through many emotions and journeys. He picks up clues throughout via flashbacks or some new piece of evidence that comes to light from conversations. He journeys towards Bethlehem, stopping of at Jerusalem. He stays in Jerusalem at Kim's brother's house. Kim seems to be his only ally, a fellow Doctor at the same hospital with whom he has been friends with since university. She helps him and goes with him to Jerusalem, then letting his continue on to Bethlehem himself; where he is received as a very unwelcome visitor. He is confused that his wife is praised and revered for what she has done.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By HORAK on 9 Sept. 2007
Format: Paperback
Amin Jaafari is a hard-working and talented surgeon at a busy Tel Aviv hospital, two generations away from his Arab origins. He is wealthy, popular with his Jewish colleagues, and devoted to his wife Sihem. The novel opens with Amin taking charge of the chaos in the emergency room after a suicide bomber attacks a restaurant in the Hakirya district of Tel Aviv, killing 19 people including a group of schoolchildren at a birthday party. Subsequently Amin is stopped and searched four times by Israeli policemen on the way home. He only wakes up to his own misfortune when he learns that Sihem has been killed in the bombing and that her wounds correspond to those found on suicide bombers.
Amin refuses to believe that Sihem could have committed such an act of terror. He expects her to return soon from Kfar Kanna where she is visiting her old grandmother. Disbelief gives way to horror when Sihem's last letter, posted from Bethlehem, turns up in his post box. As a consequence of Sihem's attack Amin's life, ambition, values and friendships disintegrate. He locks himself up in a nightmare of drink and despair in which he reflects on every aspect of his life, nationality and marriage. A Jewish colleague, Kim Yehuda, calls Amin back from the brink. He retraces Sihem's last journey from Tel Aviv to Bethlehem and back again. There Amin is repeatedly beaten up: by the Shin Bet, his Tel Aviv neighbours and Palestinian militants in the West Bank towns of Bethlehem and Jenin that were under siege by the Israeli army. Nevertheless he clings to his belief that as a surgeon his fight consists in recreating life in the place where death has chosen to conduct its manoeuvres.
The Attack uses both suicide bombing and the fate of many Israeli citizens who are of Arab origin.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Boof VINE VOICE on 8 Jun. 2011
Format: Paperback
In three words: Emotive, touching, shocking.

Dr Amin Jaafari is an Israeli Arab. He has put himself through medical school and now works in a Tel Aviv hospital as a surgeon. He has a nice home in a nice part of the city, he and his wife Sihem attend dinner parties with their Israeli friends and are happy.

When a suicide bomber strikes in a crowded restaurant in Tel Aviv killing 19 people, including eleven children at a birthday party, the hospital is put on high alert and it's all hands to the deck. Amin finally goes home exhausted to his wife, and assumes that her absense means that she is still with her Auntie in Nazareth. When Amin is woken only a few hours later by the police to tell him that his wife was killed in the blast and is suspected of being the suicide bomber, Amin's life as he knows it is turned upside down....

The Attack opens with literally that - an attack. The confusion, the silence; it all seems to happen in slow motion and we are no more clued up than those in amongst the devastation: The opening chapter is incredibly powerful.

Having lived in Israel back in the early-mid nineties I am drawn to books like this. The media, righly so, reports on the happenings in Israel as they happen but what we don't see is what goes on behind the scenes, and after the worlds cameras have left: What we don't see is the shattering devastation that affects everyone else. The victims of the bombs, their families and friends, the survivors, but also those of the relatives of the suicide bomber whose lives will never be the same again either. The author, in my opinion, did a good job as putting both sides of the story across.
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