Last month I lamented that even though I’m the host of the Middle Eastern Reading Challenge, I’ve done a poor job of reading books about the Middle East. Well, I’m hoping to rectify that lament. The topic of today’s post is the short novel Horses of God by Moroccan writer Sidi Moumen and how they were transformed from aimless young men into suicide bombers. Told in the first person’s perspective by one of the eventual bombers, the novel has a Lovely Bones sort of quality. As Sidi Moumen resident and bomber Yachine narrates from his otherworldly home in the afterlife, Yachine recalls the poignant details of his life and that of his peers and what factors pushed them to become suicide bombers.
Horses of God is a short but powerful novel. I found it well-written and my guess is well-translated too. I thought the novel excelled at showing the crushing poverty and hopelessness of a third world shantytown. Without revealing too much, Horses of God also excelled when it came to showing how suicide bombers do not spring from a vacuum. While it might take a village to raise a child,it takes a world to produce a suicide bomber. I was pleasantly surprised by Horses of God and found it a worthy addition to the Middle East Reading Challenge.