I just found out the premise/summary of John Updike’s newest novel, coming out in June:
It tells of eighteen-year-old Ahmad Ashmawy Mulloy and his devotion to Allah and the words of the Holy Qur’an, as expounded to him by a local mosque’s imam.
The son of an Irish-American mother and an Egyptian father who disappeared when he was three, Ahmad turned to Islam at the age of eleven. He feels his faith threatened by the materialistic, hedonistic society he sees around him in the slumping factory town of New Prospect, in northern New Jersey. Neither the world-weary, depressed guidance counselor at Central High School, Jack Levy, nor Ahmad’s mischievously seductive black classmate, Joryleen Grant, succeeds in diverting the boy from what his religion calls the Straight Path. When he finds employment in a furniture store owned by a family of recently immigrated Lebanese, the threads of a plot gather around him, with reverberations that rouse the Department of Homeland Security.
But to quote the Qur’an: Of those who plot, God is the best.
Boy, oh boy. Check out the United Colors of Benetton puppets, I mean, cast: A Jewish conselor! An Irish Mother! A black class mate! A Lebanese store-owner! An Egyptian deadbeat dad! This is either going to be kind and empathetic or it will just plain suck. I’m going to go out on a limb and say it’s going to suck. Out loud.