In Terrorist, Updike takes us inside the head of a young,malleable, soft-spoken Islamist fanatic. The protrayal is persuasive, in part because the horror bigotry is understated and casual. It's quite a feat of imagination on the author's part. It's a good novel -- a page-turner, as they say. It's most remarkable feature is that the hero of the novel is a tired and bedraggled high school guidance counsellor; What a breakthrough -- the guidance counsellor, figure of o-so-much contempt and satire, as savio!. Of course, the contrived/dramatic ending in which the terrorist and the counsellor square off is totally unbelievable, but at least it doesn't involve fistfights or animatrons. On the whole, Terrorist is a very readable, imaginative and largely satisfying novel. It's a bit spare, laconic -- but perhaps it only seems so because I'm also reading Doestoevsky. It's not a novel for the ages -- it's too obviously occasional. And I must say, I'm suspicious of a piece of fiction about the interaction of various ethnicities in which the only two Afro-Americans are a whore and a pimp named Tylenol.
Off to the Bradford Public to see what else is in their Updike holdings.