Title

Jihad as Rite of Passage: Tahar Djaout’s The Last Summer of Reason and Slimane Benaïssa’s The Last Night of a Damned Soul

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

7-5-2010

Publisher

Taylor & Francis

Abstract

Two recent novels by Algerians (Tahar Djaout’s The Last Summer of Reason, and Slimane Benaïssa’s The Last Night of a Damned Soul) offer critiques of Islamic totalitarianism in two settings: local Arab states like the one fictionalized by Djaout, and the cosmopolitan community of diasporic Muslims recruited to the ranks of suicide bombers in the name of self‐ and social purification. Djaout, assassinated by fundamentalists outside his home in Algeria for writing against them, and Benaïssa, charting the psychological path towards violence taken by one westernized Muslim in the United States, instantiate the ongoing debate within Islam.