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This Life or the Next

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  1,374 ratings  ·  165 reviews
From award-winning author Demian Vitanza comes a groundbreaking novel—his first to be translated into English—about one man’s alienation, radicalization, and disillusionment on the violent front lines in Syria.

Tariq Khan is a Pakistani born and raised in Norway. An outsider in his own country—adrift between two worlds divided by class, race, and culture—he’s always been se
Kindle Edition, 352 pages
Published October 9th 2018 by Amazon Crossing (first published January 31st 2017)
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Average rating 3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,374 ratings  ·  165 reviews

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Jul 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
The story of a rebel fighter in Syria telling his story to Vitanza and Vitanza writing it down for us.

Stark, cautious words on a page which make me think about what is being left unsaid and why. But mostly also about why it is these words on the page and not others? And this question is the most important of all because it determines how we are living now in this Europe and where our future is going. Because people are moving from one place to another, one culture to another and it is ridiculous
Jan 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In 2015, Demian Vitanza was working in Norway’s Halden Prison when he met a young Norwegian-Pakistani man serving a sentence for terrorist activities. Vitanza spent over 100 hours interviewing him, and this remarkably compelling book is a fictionalised account of those conversations. In the novel, the young man is named Tariq Khan. He’s been living a very westernised life, partying, drugs, girls, in general enjoying himself, but then gradually this hedonistic life-style starts to pall and he bec ...more
A clever way to tell a sad tale of Tariq a Norwegian young man of Pakistan extract who is first a small time drug supplier, than finds Islam and later decides to go to Syria to fight against the Asaad regime. He tells his story whilst in a Norwegian prison.
The story portrays a man who wanted to help the Syrian people but as he was fighting along ISIS/IS types he was, in Norway, a terrorist. What comes through the narrative was the complexity of the various rebel groups, the slow disintegration o
Sep 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
If you don’t find something to live for, you should find something to die for. That’s how it was. We didn’t have much to live for. But we’d found something we were willing to die for. (p. 121)

This Life or the Next was one of Amazon's offerings on World Book Day. It was written by Demian Vitanza and translated from Norwegian by Tanya Thresher and is based on more than 100 hours of interview with a Norwegian man of Pakistani descent, who traveled to Syria and was imprisoned after his return to Nor
Jul 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-the-world
It is so important in the toxic, divisive climate in which we live to hear perspectives other than our own. For the first time, a work by Demian Vitanza is available in English, and it makes sense that it is this one. Based on the narrative of an actual person, but fictionalized both for art and for safety of those involved, This Life or the Next gives a first-person account of Tariq, a young Norwegian Muslim who follows his calling to go to Syria and join the rebels in resisting the Assad regim ...more
Jun 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think everyone should read (or listen to, as I did) this book. This is what reading does at its best - opens your mind to other people's experiences and points of view. Now I understand that not every western "jihadi" is an extremist or terrorist. Some young people looking for purpose in their life think that they might be able to help other people by fighting Assad. To prevent the "radicalization" of such youth, society needs to understand why they are adrift in the first place: racism, unemp ...more
Cecilie Claborn
May 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very well written

I loved the format of the interview. Hearing the experience from the prisoner gave me a deeper understanding and appreciation of a war few of us take time to consider.
Reading this brought up a lot of stuff and I wish I had someone to talk to about it.

Lately, I've been noticing more than usual the voice employed in what I'm reading. I don't mean this in just an Own Voices way, although that's certainly part of it... I mean the decisions a creator makes about who is speaking and what that decision is meant to tell us. Here's an easy example: The Odyssey. The narrator *could* deliver directly the story of Odysseus' adventures with various pillages and Polyphemu
Sep 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
A heartbreaking book to read, such great sadness and loss. I could hear from the speaker his desire to be more and achieve more in his life and gain favor with his God as he knew Him to be. But each man that the speaker spoke of sounded so alone in his mission, so fragmented both in thought and action.
Cecily Winter
Jun 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Translated in English: this book title (available on Amazon) is THIS LIFE OR THE NEXT.
It is the fictional memoir of a Muslim's journey from thriving street punk to devout Muslim to would-be freedom fighter in opposition to Assad's regime in Syria.
While the characters are invention and the rebel organizations doubtless shaded with obfuscation, this tale is an eye-opening introduction to the human face of disaffected European youths' transformations into Islamic warriors.
The narration proceeds in
Apr 30, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
Chosen solely on the title, I had no clue what this was about when I started it. This is the story of Tariq, a Norwegian-born muslim. It is written as an interview with him after his imprisonment for conspiring to commit an act of terrorism. He and a friend had traveled to Syria to help defend the country from oppressors.

I would recommend using the translation guide at the back of the book while reading it. I didn't know it was there until I finished and I think it would have helped me understa
3.5 stars. Although the writing (translation?) is pretty average, this is definitely worth a read. Tariq is a Pakistani-Norwegian teenager who becomes convinced that he needs to go fight Assad in Syria to help fight for the civilian Muslims. The book raises questions about what is radicalization, who's a terrorist, and how do you help to fight Assad without associating with terrorists? Which groups will never become classified as terrorist groups? If it's radical to want to fight to protect peop ...more
Growing up in Norway, Tariq Khan spent much of his youth on the edge of the law. He and a few of his friends made a good deal of money as drug runners, using a good bit of the product themselves. As an older teenager Tariq began to question his lifestyle and became increasingly involved in his Islamic religion. He came to admire those of his faith who traveled to Syria to fight against Assad. Soon Tariq believed this was his calling. He and his friend Carlos drove from Norway to Turkey in order ...more
Cat Manning
May 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was written like an interview, even though the interviewers questions are not written down you know what was being asked.
The book is a relatively quick read and the glossary in the back definitely helps.

Tariq is a Norwegian Pakistani Muslim trying to find his way in the world and his place in it. This book is his mostly true, some fictionalized events of his coming to age story.
Melinda Fulford
Jul 18, 2019 rated it really liked it

It took me a while to get used to the writing style of the book, but then once I got into the story I really enjoyed it. I never knew much about everything that happened there and I found reading about a personal story a good way to see it from that perspective. I have wondered how people find themselves joining up with such organizations and extremism of all kinds.
Jun 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Unexpectedly Riveting

I recieved this ebook free from amazon during their world literature month thing. And while I can say that I am not typically a fan of contemporary fiction, I was determined to slog through the hundreds or unread books on my account. This being the first of them.

Living in a conservative area in the US, it was... refreshing, I think, to humanize events in the Middle East. I'm terrible at reviews and putting my thoughts into coherent sentences, but simply put, I could not put
Linda Perkins
Jul 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Informative and refreshing

I believe this was an honest and revealing account of a young man's journey to jihaddism. I would like to see how he moves forward with his life.
Jason Stenger
May 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up as one of the free ebooks from Amazon and their Amazon Crossings imprint as part of their World Book Day promotion. I honestly wasn't sure that I would ever even read it but I'm a bit of a digital hoarder so I was happy to snap it up and dump it in my virtual library. I've been trying to step outside my typical reading categories and so long story short I decided to pay the extra couple bucks download the Audible narration for this book and give it a go. I'm glad I did.

The book
Lauri Carr
Jun 16, 2019 rated it liked it

Not a usual choice for me, but a quick read. I liked the interview format. It's harsh, though. War zones, etc.
Elaine Onstad
Jun 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
True, with a healthy dose of fiction

Very interesting story: a native Norwegian of Pakistani heritage forsakes his life as a petty criminal to fight government forces in Syria. The book is one long narrative of his recollections, presented as an interview with the author. Very readable, believable, and difficult to forget.
Jessica Biggs
Jun 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"There's no point in going around thinking you're better than everyone else. All of a sudden you may need their help to get out of the shit."

This book captivated me from the very beginning. I received the e-book free from Amazon for International Book day, and I purchased the audible to go with it. The narrator for the audible book very much captured the theme of the main character, and did a fantastic job with pauses and pacing.
The main character is being interviewed while he is in prison for a
May 18, 2020 rated it it was ok
I chose this as my book club pick and ultimately failed my fellow readers. So much potential and yet it fell terribly short. It is essentially based on a true story; an interview of a Pakistani Norwegian who found himself inspired to go to war-torn Syria and essentially become a 'terrorist'. Shafina from book club said it best: "If the author wanted to write a book about a terrorist, I think he picked the wrong terrorist.'

There was no context or build up in the story, no exploration of the char
Brenda G Breeding
May 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Surprisingly good!

I received this as a free book from Amazon/Goodreads, otherwise I would not have considered reading this book.

It gives insight into the different rebel groups fighting in Syria, and their evolution. The format of the book is an interview with a young rebel “wanna be.” It explains how he progressed from a child in Norway to a rebel in Syria. Excellent writing style. Easy to read. Very informative. I highly recommend this book if you are the slightest bit interested in the war i
Jun 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First person narrative of a voice that needs to be heard. Tariq is a young man in search of truth, goodness, and doing the right thing. He feels called to help the Syrian people and leaves Norway to join those rebelling against the Assad regime.
Holly Crawford
Apr 18, 2019 rated it really liked it

I was interested the whole time. Then, I found out it was fictional, but based on the life of someone in prison and I felt bad for the way things went. But, I would definitely recommend this book and I'm sure I'll read it again sometime.
Apr 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A MUST read

A different kind of format that really worked here. I kept thinking this was non was so detailed and passionate about his life as a Muslim and the war inSyria. I highly recommend this novel f you call at all about what’s going on in the “ Middle East”
Trisha Olson
May 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Very much enjoyed this book

This book was very readable and surprisingly relatable. Many of the cities, towns & areas where scenes in the book take place will be recognizable to the reader as will most, if not all, of the various groups/sects.
May 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2019
This tied in nicely after having just read Homes. It took some getting used to the writing style - sort of interview format, but with only the answers printed. Once I adjusted to that, I thought the story was fascinating.
T.B. Cooper
May 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I don’t think I’ve ever read a story written in this format before. Heck, I don’t even think I’ve read a book fiction or non, related to this subject matter, either. But I’m so thrilled that I did.

This story follows a Norwegian Muslim, Tariq, as he recounts his journey as an “average” guy, who ends up feeling out of place by society, and ends up leaving to go fight in Syria as a jihadist, & this is told to an invisible and silent journalist that is interviewing him while he is in prison.

The book
Ruth Meyer
*3.5 stars*

This isn’t the kind of book I’d normally choose, but I got a free Kindle version from Amazon, so I gave it a shot, and I have to admit, it was one of the more interesting books I’ve read recently. The format is that of an interview, but the reader can’t see/read the interviewer’s questions or comments. It took me awhile to get into that style, but it fits the book really well. Tariq, the main character, is in jail for participating in a terror organization (aka, he’s a jihadist), tell
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Play Book Tag: Horizons: This Life or the Next by Demian Vitanza - 3 stars 1 7 Jul 21, 2019 04:43AM  

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Marco Demian Vitanza (f. 1983) er halvt italiensk, han har vokst opp i Halden, har en master fra London School of Economics og har gått på Aschehougs dramaskole. Eller som han selv liker å si: Marco Demian Vitanza er en ansamling mennesker som bor i samme kropp. "Urak" er deres første bok.

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