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Terrorist by John Updike
The protagonist in Terrorist is Ahmad Ashwamy Mulloy, an 18-year old about to graduate high school in blighted New Prospect, NJ. His mother is Irish and his father is Egyptian, but he hasn't seen his father since he was three. He adopted his father's Islamic religion when he was eleven, and the paternal influence in his life has been the imam at his local mosque. Ahmad is disgusted by the hedonism and devil's work he sees every day as he strives to follow the path of purity prescribed in the Quran. His high school guidance counselor, Jack Levy, has taken an interest in him, as does Joryleen, a black classmate. Following the imam's advice, Ahmad gets a job driving a truck for Charlie Chebab, a Lebanese man who owns a furniture store. As conflicting forces swirl around him, Ahmad is tempted by a path that he believes can cleanse the world. John Updike's 22nd novel has received mostly positive reviews with the Seattle Times saying, "In Terrorist, John Updike humanizes a young man who has seemed intent upon dehumanizing others. And to be human, after all, is to be redeemable."