Picks and Pans Review: Terrorist
REVIEWED BY KYLE SMITH
At 74, Updike has crafted a chilling tale that is perhaps the most essential novel to emerge from Sept. 11. He measures the soul of a teenage fanatic who wants to destroy his country: Ahmad, the son of an absentee Egyptian father, grew up in a desolate New Jersey town and sees in Islam a connection to his missing parent and a purity that elevates him above the slums. Prodded by a dangerous imam, he becomes a commercial truck driver. Updike's plot is all too real, though the abrupt ending isn't satisfying. Still, the book's power lies in the fact that it defines how one American's sense of alienation can turn into a weapon that threatens us all.