The Attack is a novel that explores the bizarre yet common phenomenon of the suicide bomber that we see so often in today's headlines. Its protagonist is Dr. Amin Jaafari, a man of Arab origin who is a naturalised Israeli citizen and works as a surgeon in a Tel Aviv hospital. The novel begins with the premise of a suicide bombing that had claimed many lives, and Jaafari recounts the hours in the hospital and operating room following the attack but this time, the attack has claimed the life of his wife, Sihem.
The novel progresses as Jaafari attempts and staggers to make sense of his wife's motives as it is revealed to him that she is the lead suspect. Sihem does not fit the profile of a radicalised suicide bomber which perplexes Jaafari further as he struggles to come to terms with his new reality; his life that once served as an example of Arab-Israeli integration descends into a frantic search of truth and closure.
The Attack was originally written in French; it was translated to English by John Cullen. Yasmina Khadra also happens to be the pseudonym of the true author Mohammed Moulessehoul, a former officer of the Algerian army. As a soldier who survived the Algerian civil war of the 1990s, Moulessehoul's writing is greatly and understandably influenced by the political conflicts of the Arab world. His earlier novel The Swallows of Kabul was shortlisted for the IMPAC award for its depiction of the Taliban in Afghanistan.