Turki al-Hamad's explosive novel Adama became an unlikely bestseller in the Middle East, selling more than 20,000 copies despite being officially banned in several countries, including the author's native Saudi Arabia. A compelling coming-of-age story, it also offers a rare and stunning inside look at the hidden roots of dissent in the modern Arab world. In his tranquil middle-class neighbourhood, eighteen-year-old Hisham doesn't quite fit in. He's a budding philosopher who spends his days reading banned books and developing his political ideals. His Saudi Arabia is a nation embroiled in internal conflict, torn between ancient tradition and newfound prosperity. Hisham finds himself caught up in the struggle for change, devoting more and more of his time to a shadowy group of dissenters even as he questions both their motives and methods. The result is an intense showdown between Hisham's love for his family, his firmly held philosophies, and his yearning for social justice. He awakens to passions both private and political, coming to grips with the paradoxes of a conservative land where illicit pleasures co-exist with the apparatus of a merciless state. 'I loved this book, which exposes the secrets of the inner and the outer life of the people of Saudi Arabia and made them vividly real to me; writing this book was a great act of courage.' Maggie Gee 'Adama is not only a warm, funny and fascinating book, it is also a very brave one. It deserves to be read.' The Times 'Al-Hamad has written a charming and involving coming-of-age tale. Always humane and often humourous, Adama has much to say about the foibles of the adolescent mind.' Boyd Tonkin, Independent
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Adama based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Hisham is a Saudi Arabia teen chafing with the current political and social mores in this psychological and historical novel. While fundamentally a coming of age novel, much of the book takes place in Hisham's mind and much of the plot stays focused on his struggles against the politics of the day. Hisham does not so much mature as he is buffeted by the hit-or-miss effectiveness of his high school regime, other students, secret political cells, the police, his parents, and his girlfriend. The author does a passable job of weaving in various current Islamic schools of thought about how to handle Israel and the West without it being too obvious. Nevertheless there is little character development but a lot of visibility and revelation about what it really means to grow up in Saudia Arabia and partake in seemingly forbidden engagement with others of various politics, gender, and generations.