Publication Date: Available Now from Orenda
Source: Review copy
A former intelligence agent stands accused of terrorism, held without charge in a secret overseas prison. His memoir is in the hands of a psychologist with her own agenda, and her annotations paint a much darker picture. As the story unravels, we are forced to assess the truth for ourselves, and decide not only what really happened, but who is the real terrorist. Peopled by a diverse and unforgettable cast of characters, whose reliability as narrators is always questioned, and with a multi-layered plot heaving with unexpected and often shocking developments, Jihadi: A Love Story is an intelligent thriller that asks big questions.
Jihadi is quite simply a brilliant book. Unique in its construction, entirely mind blowing and dreadfully emotional. The apocalypse could have come upon us whilst I was reading this novel and I would not even have noticed.
Yusuf Toropov just absorbs you into this and for the entirety of it you are just engaged, befuddled, involved, twisted and turned and ultimately wrung out. There are some smart observations within the narrative should you care to find them that are inherently thought provoking – a book that asks the questions nobody wants to answer but everybody should. Wrapping up intensely intelligent political and social commentary within an atmospheric, entirely character driven novel, Yusuf Toropov takes you to the edge of what you thought you knew and challenges every assumption you ever made. Not only within the story but outside of it, in this world that we all have to live in.
I’m not going to lie – this is a challenging read. No puppies and kittens in here, no nods to the commerical, this is not a novel you are going to read on the beach with only half your attention paid to it – it is a book that you will read when you want to engage your brain entirely, to give your subconcious a workout, this will keep you up at night. None the less it is a page turner. Once you give yourself up to it, Jihadi will get you in ways you won’t even realise whilst you are in it – my one piece of advice is be prepared for tears. Finish this on the bus at your peril….
Novels like this do not come along that often. It is one of those that some will give up on and others will dismiss with a glance, but I would say – don’t be one of those people. Jihadi:A Love Story is worth the time and effort it takes to kick in, it will reward you with unexpected and extraordinarily emotional prose, a heart stopping story and characters you will never ever forget.
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