The third novel in Yasmina Khadra's bestselling trilogy about Islamic fundamentalism has the most compelling backdrop of any of his novels: Iraq in the wake of the American invasion.
A young Iraqi student, unable to attend college because of the war, sees American soldiers leave a trail of humiliation and grief in his small village. Bent on revenge, he flees to the chaotic streets of Baghdad where insurgents soon realize they can make use of his anger. Eventually he is groomed for a secret terrorist mission meant to dwarf the attacks of September 11th, only to find himself struggling with moral qualms. The Sirens of Baghdad is a powerful look at the effects of violence on ordinary people, showing what can turn a decent human being into a weapon, and how the good in human nature can resist.
“The Sirens of Baghdad earns its place in the collection of must-read books on counterinsurgency and counterterror operations. Its gripping descriptions of the world as seen through the eyes of a simple young man deeply centered in culture and tradition provide a lesson on how actions can turn a friend into a very dangerous foe. A lesson that is far too powerful to ignore.” —The Philadelphia Inquirer
“Beautifully written, haunting and harrowing. . . . Khadra’s prose . . . is richly detailed and image-studded. . . . This is a powerful, moving, fully realized performance: a splendid novel that chills to the very marrow.” —The Providence Journal
“Riveting. . . . Khadra’s achievement is to catch the instantaneousness of innocence and vengeance in the stubbornness of prose. . . . It would be hard to imagine a more convincing novelistic treatment of terrorism today.” —The New York Sun
“[An] intoxicating, utterly thrilling work. . . . Khadra documents the emasculation of Iraq. . . . A provocative explanation that will bring the Iraqi experience in terrifying detail to Western bedside tables.” —New Statesman
“Compelling. . . . Khadra brings us deep into the hearts and minds of people living in unspeakable mental anguish.” —Los Angeles Times
“Khadra’s work has been compared to that of his Algerian compatriot Albert Camus, and The Sirens of Baghdad has a similar blaze of heat, the same heavy, insoluble questions. . . . The novel builds to a startling and wrenching finish.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“Nerve-wracking. . . . A blunt story line that has real passion behind it. The author’s ear for Iraqi despair, fury and violation is keen.” —The New York Times
WINNER 2008 - New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age
YASMINA KHADRA is the nom de plume of the former Algerian army officer Mohammed Moulessehoul. He is the author of six books published in English, among them The Swallows of Kabul and The Attack, for which he was awarded the Prix des Libraires and was short-listed for the Prix Goncourt, Prix Fémina, and Prix Renaudot. He lives in Aix-en-Provence, France.