Terrorist Number 20

Terrorist Number 20

Publishing House: Al-Saqi

Publication Year: 2006

Genre: Novel

Number of Pages: 252

“Abdullah Thabit’s ‘Terrorist Number 20’ is an introspective journey into the depths of identity and belief, masterfully interwoven with questions of self and society. The novel begins with Thabit’s childhood in Asir, Saudi Arabia, painting a vivid picture of his upbringing under the rigid doctrines of religious extremism. Foundation laid for Zahid Al-Jabali, possibly the 20th 9/11 terrorist, entangled in religious fundamentalism.

Thabit’s narrative transcends conventional genres, opting instead for a raw and honest exploration of Zahid’s psyche. Author adeptly portrays Zahid’s evolution from a youth influenced by late 1980s Takfiri movements to seeking freedom. Novel explores extremist ideology’s impact on the young mind, tracing the journey toward enlightenment and self-discovery.

‘Terrorist Number 20’ is more than just a story; it is a reflection on the nature of extremism, the search for identity, and the struggle between tradition and modernity. The author’s use of language is enchanting, drawing the reader into the inner world of Zahid, who grapples with a plethora of philosophical and existential questions. The narrative is a mix of Thabit’s autobiographical elements and a broader commentary on the religious and social dynamics of Saudi Arabia.

The book’s final chapters are a departure from conventional storytelling, transforming into a series of philosophical discourses. Here, Thabit shines as a writer, offering deep reflections on his experiences with extremism and societal contradictions. He critiques the cultural norms and challenges the reader to question and introspect.

Awarding ‘Terrorist Number 20’ four stars, I commend its compelling language, well-constructed plot, and the profound questions it raises. Thabit’s work is a significant contribution to contemporary Arabic literature, offering a unique and insightful perspective on a topic of global relevance. The novel is a testament to the author’s skill and depth as a writer, leaving a lasting impact on its readers.”

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