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Divorce Islamic Style

3.55  ·  Rating details ·  493 ratings  ·  87 reviews
It's 2005. The Italian secret service has received intel that a group of Muslim immigrants based in the Viale Marconi neighborhood of Rome is planning a terrorist attack. Christian Mazzari, a young Sicilian who speaks perfect Arabic, goes undercover to infiltrate the group and to learn who its leaders are. Christian poses as Issa, a recently arrived Tunisian in search of f ...more
Paperback, 184 pages
Published March 27th 2012 by Europa Editions (first published September 29th 2010)
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3.55  · 
Rating details
 ·  493 ratings  ·  87 reviews

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Aug 15, 2012 rated it liked it
Naturally, as I am Italian, I read this novel in Italian, the language in which it was originally written. I am pleasantly surprised to find out that it was also translated into English. The author, Amara Lakhous, is rapidly becoming an object of great interest to me. Born in Algiers, he graduated there in Philosophy and then, after moving to Italy, got a PhD in cultural anthropology at La Sapienza University in Rome. Being someone who has a realtively long experience in living abroad and is als ...more

The challenge, as well as the potential delight, in reading novels originally written in another language than one's own, is becoming accustomed to the flow of that language and its relation to the customs of the country of origin. Especially, if like myself, the reader speaks and reads only English, a translation must bridge differences in culture, quirks of conversational habits, viewpoints about gender, work, money, and even romance. Amara Lakhous was born in Algeria, speaks fluent Arabic, bu
Feb 17, 2016 rated it liked it
3.5 Political satire that was very well done. Like his other books, I love the illustrated characters on the cover. The characters again are very believable and there are several little plots going on at once to keep you busy. There is a twist at the end, but it left me with questions, so I had to downgrade my rating a bit. I think this author does a great job with touchy subjects using humor and politics. I also learned a few new things.
Aug 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
As an Iranian who lived in Italy and as a Muslim woman who can really feel what Safiya has felt i should say the book was interesting but : I am Iranian and in IRAN we don't put Burqa! That's not in our culture. Yes ! it's in the law that in Iran we have to put Hijab but it is completely different style from other Arab countries. About the Islamic theories about marriage and divorce and other things i had to check them up in resources because they were totally strange for me. The process of Tala ...more
Miina Saarna
Dec 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reading2018
A funny, thoughtful and informative novel with a very unsatisfactory ending.
An interesting look within an immigrant community in Europe, set in 2005 when the fear of another attack in Europe was especially intense. The Muslim immigrant community of the Viale Marconi in Rome is suspected to be harboring a bombing plot, and Christian (aka Issa) is recruited by the Italian intelligence service to uncover the plotters.

I found the portions narrated by Safia, an immigrant from Egypt, to be a great addition to the overall narrative and provided a different point of view in th
May 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Entertaining, well written, page turner, funny, I enjoyed this read very much. It covers alot in a only 184 pages. Set in Italy, amongst the immigrant population, it offers the reader a glimpse of what it is like to be an immigrant in a foreign country and one who was born or came at a young age and you may be treated differentley or not. It clear and easy to read, little reminders of who people are. The storyline is certainly believable, I closed this book with a smile on my face.
Rambling Reader
Apr 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
really enjoying books published by Europa Editions
Jolie Mckay
Jun 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed every moment of this book...until the ending. Did he intend to leave it that way or did he write himself into a corner? Worth reading, even if it left me wanting.
Nicole Cunningham
Dec 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
a silly, light read i really enjoyed. really a lot of fun.
Mar 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Perfect read for an idle Tuesday!

Very entertaining though the ending is a bit anticlimactic.
Dec 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Enjoyable and interesting.

I have to constantly remind myself that I’m Tunisian, and this neighborhood is full of Egyptians. Many people don’t know that there are rivalries among the Arabs. For example, it’s not smooth sailing between Syrians and Lebanese, between Iraqis and Kuwaitis, between Saudis and Yemenis, and so on and so on. It’s why they can’t come up with a plan for unity, in spite of common history, geography, Arabic, Islam, and oil. The model of the European Union will have to wait!

In the superb novel Divorce
May 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, italy
Another entertaining look at the culture wars in Italy. This time around a Sicilian who speaks perfect Arabic, and can pass as a north African, is recruited by the security services to infiltrate an alleged terrorist cell being run out of a phone center / meeting place. Allegedly. The recruit wants to do his part for his country, but doesn't harbor any ill feelings towards Muslims, and despises the prejudice shown by his countrymen.

In the course of his undercover work he encounters a veiled woma
Five stars for lucid writing, for effective form (each chapter is told by one of the two main characters), for convincing and engaging characters' voices, and especially for how I couldn't put the book down and felt sorry that the story ended so quickly. I actually mainly listened to the Italian audio book version (which is excellent in its own right -- read by two actors with each of them doing a perfect job), so I rather couldn't stop listening, but never mind.
Nov 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
So this is a quirky little book about an Italian spy infiltrating a Muslim community in Italy trying to identify a potential terrorist. It's also told from the view of a strong willed woman living in the area as their paths cross. Despite this subject matter the book reads like a satire and has lots to say about modern Italian society. It's different, nice to get to read the world via books in translation!
Oct 18, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A refreshing, funny and educational novel, clearly intended for an Italian audience.
Then years later, the attitude toward terrorism and Islam seems to have stayed the same, therefore it is important to face these themes.
This is a fun way to do so, while learning more and more about growing communities of arabs growing all over Europe.
Daniel Polansky
I read this book.
May 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, algerian
Very entertaining, despite touching subjects like immigration, racism, etc. I think the book would have benefited from being a bit longer though
Jul 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: better-junk-food
I've quickly become a big fan of Lakhous this summer, but this book disappointed me in its ending. Though I'm all for complexity in characters, some of Christian's decisions late in the story didn't seem to jive with the man he'd been the rest of the book.

More than any of the other Lakhous novels I've read, this one indulged a sustained reckoning with Islam that the ending didn't seem to quite mesh with. As a reader I felt almost tricked or manipulated -- and inclined to suspect Lakhous might h
Oct 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was such a refreshing, interesting, and quick read--very excited that this was translated into English. I enjoyed the peek into the Arab/Maghreb diaspora in Rome, not a subject that you hear much about in the US. I usually enjoy alternating first person narration, and this was an excellent example.

Though it may not be the most memorable book I have read, I think it handled many delicate subjects very well, with just the right touch of dark humor to lighten the mood. In light of recent news
Jul 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Originally published in Italian, this story centers on Rome’s immigrant population, particularly the Muslim population from North Africa and the Middle East. Told in alternating chapters by an Italian translator turned undercover agent posing as a Tunisian worker and a Muslim woman who dreams of being a hairstylist but is unfortunately married to a conservative man, the story takes place in 2005 amid rumors of a possible terrorist plot in Rome. It’s a good story (albeit slow by American standard ...more
Mar 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ncte
I think I might have enjoyed this book more if the marketing department hadn't chosen to tell me on the flap notes that there was a twist ending that would send me back to the beginning to read again for clues. By the end of the first dozen pages, I was fairly certain I'd figured out the twist. When I flipped back to check, I had.

Nevertheless, the characters were engaging enough to make me want to figure out how we got from the beginning to the end. Their quirky linguistic choices made them feel
Oct 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: subway, politics, love
"Goddamn performance anxiety. I'm confused and a little agitated. Thoughts and memories surface without warning. I try to concentrate."

"To tell the truth, the word 'country' gives me shivers only when I hear the national anthem at international matches; outside of a soccer game I have trouble understanding the meaning of it." 23


A neighbor in Cairo, Uncle Attia, said "Daughters are like hand grendades: it's best to get rid of them in a hurry!"


"An immigrant like Omar be
I had high hopes for this book based on a review of it in the New York Times. And right up to its conclusion I was ready to give it five stars. But the ending was such a preposterous cop out that after nearly hurling the book out of the window, I settled on three stars. It was, after all, very entertaining except for that and provided an interesting perspective on life in Italy for its immigrants.
Sherry Fyman
Apr 04, 2013 rated it liked it
Set in the immigrant neighborhood of Rome (Viale Marconi), Christian Mazzari is recruited to inflitrate the Arab community because the Italian authorities are concerned about the growth of terrorist cells.

Lakhous' focus and strong point is showing just how marginal, lost, lonely and often desperate immigrants often are. They are always suspect and mistrusted. They can't really fit in to their new home and they can't really losen their ties to the countries they left.
"A dream is like a plant that grows day by day and produces good fruit as long as you don't neglect it. And I - I am very generous with my dreams. I give the best of myself."

Towards the end, this book begins to read like a Vaclav Havel play: with political intrigue and maddening bureaucracy and nonsensical developments. For that reason, I liked it better than I thought I would.
Jul 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I read Amara Lakhous being compared to Camus which I thought unfair as the characters in this book may be similarly matter-of-fact, but they are very endearing. The humour made me think of Greene, it opened my eyes to Islamic culture from a great point of view and questioned the Koran with many funny analogies.
Aug 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A clever gem of a book. Amusing and intelligent -- and an insightful look into clashing cultures and the possible stories behind the folks we look at each day and don't see. It probably helped that I had concentrated reading time and could read this book practically in one sitting, but I really enjoyed it.
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عمارة لخوص روائي جزائري مقيم في إيطاليا يكتب باللغتين العربية والايطالية. من أعماله «البق والقرصان»، التي ترجمت إلى الايطالية، و»كيف ترضع من الذئبة دون أن تعضك»، التي أعاد كتابتها بالايطالية وحولت إلى فيلم سينمائي. حاز على جائزة فلايانو الأدبية الدولية وجائزة المكتبيين الجزائريين

Other profile: عمارة لخوص

Amara Lakhous was born in Algiers in 1970. He has a degree in philosophy from the University of