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Publisher's Summary

The ever-surprising John Updike's 22nd novel is a brilliant contemporary fiction that will surely be counted as one of his most powerful. It tells of 18-year-old Ahmad Ashmawy Mulloy and his devotion to Allah and the words of the Holy Qur'an, as expounded to him by a local mosque's imam. The son of a bohemian Irish-American mother and an Egyptian father who disappeared when he was three, Ahmad turned to Islam at the age of 11. He feels his faith threatened by the materialistic, hedonistic society he sees around him in the slumping factory town of New Prospect, in northern New Jersey. Neither the world-weary, depressed guidance counselor at Central High School, Jack Levy, nor Ahmad's mischievously seductive black classmate, Joryleen Grant, succeeds in diverting the boy from what his religion calls the Straight Path.
When he finds employment in a furniture store owned by a family of recently immigrated Lebanese, the threads of a plot gather around him, with reverberations that rouse the Department of Homeland Security.
But to quote the Qur'an: Of those who plot is God the best.
©2006 John Updike (P)2006 Brilliance Audio
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Critic Reviews

"[A] compelling and surprising ride." ( USA Today)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Lyn on 08-06-08

Updike vindicated

I usually don't enjoy Updike's books but keep trying to discover why he is so highly regarded! My efforts paid off. This is a most enjoyable book. The narrator did a great job with the various speakers, Ahmad uses a stiff precise English, Mr Levey a proper Northeast Jewish accent. Also the producer has done a great job; a preacher's voice sound over a loud speaker system and a phone call has the proper tinny quality.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By T. C. Pile on 11-29-08

A Little Too Close for Comfort

John Updike's story of a Jersey Jihadi coming of age is more than plausible, it's so possible that this could happen that it's truly frightening. We are all so vulnerable, and it's that very vulnerability that Updike's reluctant hero schoolteacher teacher finds he must draw upon if he wants to survive.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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