Customer Reviews for

Terrorist

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Pleasure to read

I read the reviews about what a disappointment this book was. I think this is a very unfair judgment. These writers believe these feelings of Islams hate toward the West only come from praying to Allah. However, I found myself both agreeing and disagreeing with the ch...
I read the reviews about what a disappointment this book was. I think this is a very unfair judgment. These writers believe these feelings of Islams hate toward the West only come from praying to Allah. However, I found myself both agreeing and disagreeing with the character, and I pray to nothing. I think these people missed the point. It is my opinion that John Updike was only trying to enlighten us with others understandings about the way we are brought up in the West, using the main character as an informer. This book did not only put truth into words, but also educates us about other people¿s faith. Overall, I thought it was worth my precious time.

posted by Anonymous on August 3, 2006

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Disappointing, hacknayed, predictible, anything else bad to say?

The more I read this, I began to get the idea that Updike was hiding behind his characters in order to show his sympathy for not just members of Islam, but the terrorists as well. I don't care what a writer says, he or she ARE the charcters that they create and each ca...
The more I read this, I began to get the idea that Updike was hiding behind his characters in order to show his sympathy for not just members of Islam, but the terrorists as well. I don't care what a writer says, he or she ARE the charcters that they create and each carries a small portion of their thoughts, hopes, dreams, and fears. Having said that, I expect Updike's latest disappointing effort to be highly rated by Al Jezera. Once those thoughts creeped into my mind, Terrorist was in a 'no-win' situation, at least for me.

posted by Anonymous on July 11, 2006

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2006

    Pleasure to read

    I read the reviews about what a disappointment this book was. I think this is a very unfair judgment. These writers believe these feelings of Islams hate toward the West only come from praying to Allah. However, I found myself both agreeing and disagreeing with the character, and I pray to nothing. I think these people missed the point. It is my opinion that John Updike was only trying to enlighten us with others understandings about the way we are brought up in the West, using the main character as an informer. This book did not only put truth into words, but also educates us about other people¿s faith. Overall, I thought it was worth my precious time.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2006

    Disappointing, hacknayed, predictible, anything else bad to say?

    The more I read this, I began to get the idea that Updike was hiding behind his characters in order to show his sympathy for not just members of Islam, but the terrorists as well. I don't care what a writer says, he or she ARE the charcters that they create and each carries a small portion of their thoughts, hopes, dreams, and fears. Having said that, I expect Updike's latest disappointing effort to be highly rated by Al Jezera. Once those thoughts creeped into my mind, Terrorist was in a 'no-win' situation, at least for me.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2006

    Terrorist Disappoints

    I was very disappointed in the latest Updike novel. It is full of tediously minute details about pathetic characters and pages of lectures about Islam. The last section gets moving but ends with a thoroughly implausible event. Again Updike describes sad, unfulfilled Americans no different from Rabbit in his first depressing novels.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A CHILLING PORTRAIT OF AN OBSESSIVE MIND

    'Devils, Ahmad thinks. These devils seek to take away my God. All day long, at Central High School, girls sway and sneer and expose their soft bodies and alluring hair......The teachers, weak Christians and nonobservant Jews, make a show of teaching virtue and righteous self-restraint, but their shifty eyes and hollow voices betray their lack of belief.' Those are the thoughts of 18-year-old Ahmad, a student at a New Jersey high school. He appears to be a bomb waiting to go off - the son of an Irish-American mother and an Egyptian father who took off when the boy was three, he is devoted to Islam and has found a surrogate father in the imam who gives him instruction. It's not only his classmates that Ahmad disdains but also his mother and the string of boyfriends she dangles. Updike points a chilling portrait of a would be terrorist and also causes readers to wonder why no one had evidently seen the signs of this boy's mind set. In the author's description one of the reasons he's bent on destruction is that he can't think of anything else to do after high school. Little reason for killing people. No notice is taken when Ahmad suddenly evidences an interest in learning how to operate large trucks nor has anyone noted that the boy has never had a friend - male or female. One wonders if he ever longed to be a part of the high school crowd or go out with one of the girls he denigrates It is as if he has developed in a vacuum with only his hatred of American materialism to keep him company. Terrorist is an eerie dissection of an obsessive mind, a troubling story yet a necessary one as it relates to our world today. Plus, in the hands of the master John Updike it is rich in elegant prose and descriptive passages so substantive that it seems characters may leap from the page. - Gail Cooke

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2006

    A surly reading necessarily so. Challenging.

    This is a hard-hitting fiction the politically sensitive may refuse to embrace. With excellent prose as one has come to expect and enjoy from Updike, the existential vacuum we should have taken warning of from Frankl here in Updike's fiction fills with our oldest and most modern yet crude fears and temptations.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    frightening intense thriller

    His Egyptian father abandoned him and his mother when he was three. Now fifteen years later in New Prospect, New Jersey high school student Ahmad Mulloy Ashmawy scorns his hippie Irish-American mother turning to the Islamic teachings of Shaikh Rashid, who runs a storefront mosque for spiritual and emotional guidance. Shaikh advocates retribution to those supporting the Zionist American government. --- Ahmad heeds the call to arms against the decadent American culture though he at times acts like a teen when he ¿competes¿ for the attention of Joryleen Grant against Tylenol Jones. Central High School Jewish near retirement guidance counselor Jack Levy tries to help Ahmad, but the student sees him as the epitome of why America is a failure. The lad is on the fast self actualization track starting with low esteem metamorphosing into a need to believe and belong to finally turning into a potential TERRORIST. --- Using stereotypes to display flawed characters, John Updike is at his best with this frightening intense thriller in which he makes it clear that social strata and economics make for the breeding grounds of terrorists here (Think England), in Iraq and elsewhere. The author¿s basic premise is that the West is losing the hearts of children who find physiological and psychological nourishment elsewhere while leaders posture like Panglois (Candide) that this is the best of all worlds. The TERRORIST is chilling. --- Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2013

    Read read read

    His name is cocaine husaine instead of making regular bombs he makes cocaine bombs so when he blows it up you will all become high and be arrested wee woo wee woo

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2007

    mumbo-jumbo

    I am totally surprised at the low quality of writing and substance of this book. This is a book based on some sensationalized 3rd-rate newspaper type character, without any resemblance to reality. Updike uses verses from Quran probably to show his knowledge'!' to the foolish readers that he is trying to sell this book to. It's a garbled up book. But on the other hand, Updike is probably just trying to make a few bucks by riding the anti-Muslim tide and capitalizing on the fear-mongering tactics used by the media and the administration. For Updike's knowledge: Muslims do not call their teachers 'master.' Also, according to Islam, God has no son and no Muslim wishes to be called 'son' by God, even when one is a martyr. A worthless book, poor story and even poorer writing - basically a mumbo-jumbo.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2006

    lacks depth and interest

    As I read through the novel I kept returning to the same thought, why do I even care what happens to the main character. Updike attempts to get the reader to think and have some compassion for a troubled teen who turns to radical islam as a way out and to make us think about why someone becomes a terrorist. All I kept thinking was how much I hate this book and the character. Filled with pages and pages of islam teachings and attempts to make the reader unserstand why the teen is doing what he is doing. Didn't work for me

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2006

    All Updike

    Excellent descriptive writing. Plausible and scary story. Probably happening as I write this. No shoot em up chase scenes or heroic save the day characters...just a realistic story with vintage Updike writing. Very enjoyable if troubling read. I loved it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2006

    One of the most unpleasant books I've ever read

    I picked this book up from the library, suspecting a suspenful and hi-tech terrorist thriller. What I got was one of the most depressing, aggravatingly monotonous books I've ever suffered through. Updike switches back and forth through several characters, all of whom are manic-depressive, and who gleefully guide you through pages and pages of depressive rants until Updike switches to a new character to move the plot. Updike also annoyingly sets Pennsylvania on a pedestal, gushing vicariously about how swell it is (Updike is from PA, coincidence?). I continued to read through the slow-as-molasses tedium to see if the book would pick up. It didn't. Updike rushes through the terror plot to get back to the depressive characters being depressed. Even the 'climax', which lasts about 7 lines (literally), consists of the main character realizing that Allah doesn't want him to kill people. WTF? The ending was implausible and downright stupid. I guess Updike got caught up in things to be depressed about and completely forgot about the plot. I wouldn't touch this book again without a ten foot, manic-depressive, Pennsylvania-made pole.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2006

    As unexpected and startling as a ripening pomegranate on a grape vine

    John Updike¿s novel ¿Terrorist¿ is startlingly different from his previous twenty-one novels. It is written in prose so elegant that I thought of the very best of Truman Capote¿s novels. (¿Breakfast at Tiffany¿s¿ came to my mind, about which Norman Mailer said, ¿It¿s so perfect that I wouldn¿t change a word of it¿). The story is about an eighteen years old high school senior named Ahmad Ashmawy Mulloy. Born to an Irish American woman named Terry Malloy (whose skin is so white and freckled that it ¿seems unnaturally white, like a leper¿s¿) and an Egyptian exchange student, Ahmad is a loner. Writes Updike: ¿His religion keeps him from drugs and vice, though it also holds him rather aloof from his classmates and the studies on the curriculum¿. When Ahmad was only three years old, Terry is abandoned by her husband, and she works as a nurse¿s aid in a hospital. It¿s obvious to her now that her husband had used her to gain American citizenship. At age eleven, Ahmed starts his religious instruction from a Lebanese Imam named Shaikh Rashid at a mosque, a converted dance studio above a shop in New Prospect, New Jersey. He attends Central High School. Ahmed¿s religious instruction provides an opportunity to Updike for some long discourses on Islam in the modern world. Upon graduation, Ahmad secures a job with the help of the Imam, as truck driver for a furniture company called Excellency Home Furnishings. The most remarkable aspect of this novel is the author¿s luminous prose. It has the pleasant, subdued and endearing glow of the twilight of the tropics, befitting the author¿s twilight years. Read his description of the girls in Ahmad¿s high school: ¿Their bare bellies, adorned with shining navel studs and low-down purple tattoos, ask, ¿What else is there to see?¿ About Joryleen Grant who often flirts with Ahmad, Updike writes: ¿There is an endearing self-confidence in how compactly her cocoa-brown roundness fills her clothes, which today are patched and sequined jeans, worn pale where she sits, and a ribbed magenta shorty top both lower and higher than it should be.¿ Simply lovely, I thought. And this description of God: ¿There is no God but He, the Living, the Self-Subsistent He is the light by which the sun looks black. He does not blend with our reason but makes our reason bow low, its forehead scraping the dust and bearing like Cain the mark of dust.¿ I have read a few unflattering reviews of this novel in newspapers and also on the Internet. The one that particularly rattled me, and which I felt was quite unfair, was the one written by Michiko Kakutani in the New York Times. And I suddenly remembered her acerbic review of Morris Berman¿s thought-provoking and gripping non-fiction: ¿Dark ages America¿. And it dawned on me very clearly that any time an author writes something that can be even remotely construed as ¿anti-American¿, and any time an author writes something that can be interpreted as negative, shocking or unflattering information about American army or the American government, Michiko Kakutani reaches out to her almost inexhaustible supply of over-ripe tomatoes and rotten eggs in her pantry to pelt the poor author with. To those who haven¿t read any Updike novel, I wish to say: Read ¿Terrorist¿. But read it slowly to savor the beauty of his crystalline prose.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2012

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    Posted June 15, 2013

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    Posted August 22, 2010

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    Posted March 12, 2009

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    Posted April 20, 2012

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