(Apologies for the possibly unsightly paragraphing. Thanks, Blogger.)
Matt Rees said at a reading a few years ago that his novels offered a tour of the Palestinian world. The first three were set in Bethlehem, Gaza and Nablus; next up, he said, were Beirut and Brooklyn.Turns out he was joking — about Beirut. He set The Fourth Assassin, his fourth novel about a Palestinian schoolteacher named Omar Yussef, largely in Brooklyn's Bay Ridge section, with detours to the United Nations.
The book only slowly works its way to the central mystery: Who killed a friend of Omar's son, and how will Omar get his son off the hook?
"Outside a store selling greeting cards and bumper stickers, Khamis Zeydan stopped to read aloud: `"Hatred is not a family value–Koran 49:13." The Koran says that?'
"`In that verse, Allah says he "made you into nations and tribes, so that you might get to know each other,"' Omar Yussef said.
"`So this is the dumb American version?'
"`What do you want from them? It's only a bumper sticker.'"
Who are your favorite outsider protagonists and why? What are the attractions for a reader of a story about a stranger in a strange land? What are the attractions for an author?
© Peter Rozovsky 2011