Drawn Into the Middle East: A Novel, a Memoir and an Account of Life in the Region

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By 

THE ATTACK
Written by Loïc Dauvillier
Illustrated by Glen Chapron
Adapted from the novel by Yasmina Kadra
152 pp. Firefly Books. $24.95.

THE ARAB OF THE FUTURE 2
A Graphic Memoir: A Childhood in the Middle East (1984-1985)
By Riad Sattouf
Translated by Sam Taylor
154 pp. Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt & Company. Paper, $26.

ROLLING BLACKOUTS
Dispatches From Turkey, Syria, and Iraq
By Sarah Glidden
298 pp. Drawn & Quarterly. $24.95.

“If I locked you up, it was so you could taste hate,” Dr. Amin Jaafari’s captor says in the extraordinary graphic novel version of Yasmina Kadra’s “The Attack.” “Anything can happen if you scratch at someone’s self-esteem. Especially if they are feeling powerless.”

This is not just a simplified explanation of the complex motivations of a suicide bomber. These words, in a sense, exemplify the brutal cycle of the Middle East tragedy: Injustice leads to powerlessness, to frustration to rage, and finally to acts of violence that undercut any attempts at peace or reconciliation.

Except this time, Dr. Amin — an Israeli Arab surgeon whose wife, Sihem, mysteriously disappears down the rabbit hole of radical extremism and violence — is being held in a darkened room by Palestinian radicals in the West Bank city of Jenin, not by the Shin Bet, the Israeli Security Agency. He has embarked on a quest across the Occupied Territories to try to unravel how and why his wife blew herself up along with innocent bystanders on a crowded Tel Aviv street. His voyage into the abyss starts in the emergency room at the hospital where he works, desperately trying to save victims of a suicide bomber, before discovering through Israeli friends that it was his wife who in fact murdered and harmed all these people. Read more
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