Nicolas' Column

Every month, our media librarian Nicolas shares his favourite thing to be found at the Alliance française Resource Centre!

L'Attentat by Yasmina Khadra


“This month, I recommend L’Attentat by Yasmina Khadra, one of my favourite books!

Yasmina Khadra, real name Mohamed Moulessehoul, is an Algerian author and former army officer who has made a name for himself with novels set in the terrible reality of his country in the 90s, in particular À quoi rêvent les loups, in which he describes a young Algerian’s descent into Islamist madness.

With L’Attentat (2005), Khadra takes on a sensitive subject: the Israel-Palestine crisis. And in my opinion, he has succeeded in writing THE novel on this topic. Through his fictional approach and the lived experience of unique characters, he attempts to understand what can go on in people’s minds, beyond the facts…

Amine Jaafaria, an Israeli surgeon of Palestinian origin, has to operate on people injured in a bombing that has taken place in his home city of Tel-Aviv. The following night, he learns that the suicide bomber who blew themselves up is none other than his own wife! This marks the start of a descent into hell for a man who seemed to have it all and never saw this coming. In denial at first, he then decides to conduct his own investigation to try and understand the incomprehensible…

In my view, the great power of the book lies in the complexity of this tortured character, who enables us to understand the Israel-Palestine crisis. It goes beyond all Manicheism, without trying to justify the unjustifiable: an eye for an eye, hatred begetting hatred, the endless logic of destroying the Other…

A profound, human yet captivating book that addresses this sensitive subject in depth, with a magnificent literary style. A great book therefore, which was adapted for the cinema in 2013.”

The book and DVD are available at the Resource Centre.