Sunday 4 February 2018

Horses of God, 2010, Mahi Binebine ****

Horses of God tells the story of a boy who lives in abject poverty and squalor in Morocco, falls into Islamic indoctrination and is convinced to carry out a jihad. This book actually is written in remembrance of the 2003 Casablanca bombing. One of the suicide bombers from his grave narrates the story of his life and what led him to become a suicide bomber.

It is not a novel I particularly enjoyed however, I must say it is brilliantly written. An interesting read as we live in an era where there has been more often than not suicide attacks,  a situation that creates
mental discomfort. This books takes you right into the lives of the jihadists where they tell you their story before their death from the beginning.

In Horses of God, the boys are marginalised, their parents couldn't care less as they've got a lot to deal with themselves. These children are easily manipulated, their young minds get tapped into and in a blink of an eye they are being convinced that others are the reason their life is meaningless.

Originally written in French, with title "Les étoiles de Sidi Moumen" it won and was nominated for many literary awards: The International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award Nominee for Shortlist (2015), BTBA Best Translated Book Award Nominee for Fiction (2014), Scott Moncrieff Prize Nominee for Lulu Norman (2014), Prix du Roman Arabe (2010), Prix Littéraire Mamounia (2010)

Mahi Binebine is the first Moroccan novelist whose book I have read, I look forward to reading more from the country. My first read of 2018. 

The novel has been turned into a motion picture and I'd like to see it. 

What is your first read of the year? Have you read this novel? What other novels by Moroccan writers would you recommend?

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  1. Hmmm . . . I don't think I would enjoy this and yet I think I should - and will- read it. It's something that anyone in today's world should know about, and understand the underlying reasons for.

    Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

  2. Mary, you say you didn't particularly enjoy reading this, is it because of the dark subject matter? I can relate if that's the case. I have lots of books written by African-American writers in my bookcase but those that deal with the subject matter of slavery, I simply cannot bring myself to read them, no matter how brilliant the writers are.

    My first read of the year was "What it means when a Man Falls from the Sky" by Lesley Nneka Arimah. It was well written. The writer is clearly talented but I am not a fan of magical realism because I simply do not understand it so this is not a book I would recommend or pick up again to read.

    1. Yes, the subject matter is dark, sad and hopeless, I guess that is why I did not particularly enjoy it.

      I cannot deal with magical realism myself, so I believe it is not a book I'll be picking up.


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