31 Hours. Finished 9-20-16, rating 2.5/5. fiction. 229 pages, pub. 2009
A woman in New York awakens knowing, as deeply as a mother’s blood can know, that her grown son is in danger. She has not heard from him in weeks. His name is Jonas. His girlfriend, Vic, doesn’t know what she has done wrong, but Jonas won’t answer his cell phone. We soon learn that Jonas is isolated in a safe-house apartment in New York City, pondering his conversion to Islam and his experiences training in Pakistan, preparing for the violent action he has been instructed to take in 31 hours. Jonas’s absence from the lives of those who love him causes a cascade of events, and as the novel moves through the streets and subways of New York we come to know intimately the lives of its characters. We also learn to feel deeply the connections and disconnections that occur between young people and their parents not only in this country but in the Middle East as well. from Goodreads
The realities of home grown terrorism is just as relevant today as it was when this eas published in 2009. It’s such a tricky subject because so many things go into the making of a terrorist that if you focus on one part, say the Islamic aspect, then you might lose sight of the many other pieces to the whole. Anyway, this thriller was well reviewed by friends of mine, but I just couldn’t get into it. I started it few months ago and had the same problem but this time I powered through finishing at 11pm last night
It’s the story of a young American, Jonas, who has decided to strap on a bomb and blow up himself and others in the name of Allah. It’s told from the alternating viewpoints of Jonas, his mother, girlfriend, his girlfriend’s sister and a homeless man. Jonas’s decision and how he reached it was important but the focus wasn’t on Jonas, it was on everyone he was going to leave behind.
I empathized with the homeless man who considered asking for money in the subway his job. I empathized with the mother who knew something was wrong and blamed herself. I learned that, as with any horrific act, there are people who need our support and understanding.
If you have any interest in martyrs or just like a good thriller this might be for you.