cover image Horses of God

Horses of God

Mahi Binebine, trans. from the French by Lulu Norman. Tin House (PGW, dist.), $14.95 (168p) ISBN 978-1935639534

Acclaimed Moroccan novelist and painter Binebine shows readers a rare glimpse into the lives of boys who are groomed to become suicide bombers in his second novel to be translated into English (after Welcome to Paradise). Set in the gritty and impoverished Casablanca slum of Sidi Moumen, the protagonist, Yachine, and a group of young boys lead desperate yet exuberant lives in the face of disease, poverty, and violence. Yachine's tale is extremely honest, intimate, and spares no details; from murders committed by his vengeful brother, Hamid [94], or his own secret homosexual encounters. The novel provides context and perspective to often little-explored issues, offering incredible insight into the complex lives of poor boys who are groomed to kill themselves for a cause and commit violent acts in the name of religion. Binebine portrays these young men as supremely human, victims of powers much larger than themselves, and like any Kafkaesque anti-hero, cogs in an incomprehensible and monstrous machine. (Apr.)