4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
A Young Man's Journey, 13 Feb. 2011
The story of a young Pakistani man, Imtiaz, born and brought up in Britain who becomes radicalised during a visit to Pakistan / Afghanistan and becomes a suicide bomber. It's written in the first person in the form of a letter to be given to his family after his death. Some elements of Imtiaz's journey are clear, well explained and convincingly written using northern dialect and lots of detail. His ordinariness is striking as is the banality of his existence. He lacks drive, energy, ambition and is fearful, afraid to speak his mind, is reluctant to stand out from others and very self conscious. He doesn't feel any strong sense of belonging and doesn't really join in with his peers. He is embarrassed about his father's lack of material success and his humility and acceptance of disrespectful behaviour. But then what happens in Pakistan / Afghanistan is less explicit and less clear and this lack of detail undermines the credibility of the supposed transformation and prevents the reader from really understanding the emotional, political or religious journey. How was he chosen? Did he "choose" himself? Why did he wait so long to commit the final act? Would someone in his position have accepted Charag's defection as calmly as Imtiaz seems to have done? Towards the end did he experience a breakdown resulting from the pressure to act? Who was Tarun? In common with another reader I propose to read it again to see whether I can achieve greater clarity second time around.