Horses of God by Mahi Binebine
A Novel

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At only 162 fast-moving pages, Horses of God can be read in two sittings. This is a small investment to gain clear-eyed look at the Jihadi suicide bomber, one of the most frightening and mysterious phenomena in today’s world.
-NY Journal of Books

Synopsis

Inspired by real events, Horses of God follows four childhood friends growing up in a slum outside of Casablanca as they make the life-changing decisions that will lead them to become Islamist martyrs.

On May 16, 2003, fourteen suicide bombers launched a series of attacks throughout Casablanca. It was the deadliest attack in Morocco’s history. The bombers came from the shantytowns of Sidi Moumen, a poor suburb on the edge of a dump whose impoverished residents rarely if ever set foot in the cosmopolitan city at their doorstep. Mahi Binebine’s novel Horses of God follows four childhood friends growing up in Sidi Moumen as they make the life-changing decisions that will lead them to become Islamist martyrs. The seeds of fundamentalist martyrdom are sown in the dirt-poor lives of Yachine, Nabil, Fuad, and Ali, all raised in Sidi Moumen. The boys’ soccer team, The Stars of Sidi Moumen, is their main escape from the poverty, violence, and absence of hope that pervade their lives. When Yachine’s older brother Hamid falls under the spell of fundamentalist leader Abu Zoubeir, the attraction of a religion that offers discipline, purpose, and guidance to young men who have none of these things becomes too seductive to ignore. Narrated by Yachine from the afterlife, Horses of God portrays the sweet innocence of childhood and friendship as well as the challenges facing those with few opportunities for a better life. Binebine navigates the controversial situation with compassion, creating empathy for the boys, who believe they have no choice but to follow the path offered them.
 

About Mahi Binebine

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Mahi Binebine was born in Marrakech in 1959. He studied in Paris and taught mathematics, until he became recognized first as a painter, then as a novelist. Binebine lived in New York in the late 1990s, when his paintings began to be acquired by the Guggenheim Museum. His first novel, Welcome to Paradise was published in France by Librairie Artheme Fayard in 1999, in Great Britain in 2003 by Granta Books, and in the Unites States in 2012 by Tin House Books. He lives in Marrakech.Lulu Norman is a writer, translator, and editor who lives in London. She has translated Albert Cossery, Mahmoud Darwish, Tahar Ben Jelloun, and the songs of Serge Gainsbourg and written for national newspapers, the London Review of Books, and other literary journals. Her translation of Mahi Binebine's Welcome to Paradise (Granta, 2003; Tin House Books, 2012) was shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. She also works as assistant editor of Banipal, the magazine of modern Arab literature.
 
Published March 26, 2013 by Tin House Books. 168 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Horses of God
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NY Journal of Books

Good
Reviewed by Michael Adelberg on Mar 29 2013

At only 162 fast-moving pages, Horses of God can be read in two sittings. This is a small investment to gain clear-eyed look at the Jihadi suicide bomber, one of the most frightening and mysterious phenomena in today’s world.

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