Victoria Goldman's Reviews > Jihadi: A Love Story

Jihadi by Yusuf Toropov
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's review
Mar 27, 2016

it was amazing

Jihadi is an intelligently written novel that wasn't always an easy read, mainly because of the vivid descriptions that shocked and evoked some powerful emotions. It's definitely a book that needs to be read slowly, so you can digest it one step at a time.

Yusuf Toropov has written a very modern highly-topical novel focusing on a former US intelligence agent who has been accused of terrorism. But this isn't a straightforward 'innocent or guilty' story - his memoir is being read and annotated by a seemingly unstable psychologist with an agenda of their own. At first, readers may struggle with the two voices, but it soon becomes clear how they are connected and why there is conflict.

Jihadi is intriguing, addictive, brutal, gripping, tragic and brilliant, with several strands that come together seamlessly by the end of the book. It's written in an almost-rhythmic way that enabled me to get inside the characters' heads. Yet it left me unsure who to trust or believe. Maybe the true account isn't really the true account at all. And will anyone ever know the truth?

The book is subtitled 'A Love Story' but it made me question who this 'love' was between. Lovers? Husbands and wives? Parents and children? Friends? Colleagues? People and their religion, government or country? The book demonstrates how propaganda can cause conflict and distort the truth - and how people (from both sides) can be manipulated to believe whatever they are being led to believe - whether it's the truth or not. This is also a book about faith and belief - in people, our country, ourselves... - and how both can deceive our judgement and influence our actions.

I received an Advance Reader Copy in exchange for an honest review.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
March 6, 2016 – Finished Reading
March 27, 2016 – Shelved

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