Arts + Culture

Infidels is a Novel About a Gay Jihadi, and Also Not About That At All

Billed as a homosexual coming-of-age story that ends with a suicide bombing, Infidels, by Abdellah Taïa, is so much more.

If you read anything the novelist Abdellah Taïa, you are likely to get his autobiography before you get a description of his work (an article in The Atlantic, for example, describes him as “the only openly homosexual Moroccan writer-filmmaker”). This is not surprising: his life-story is interesting, and his novels and film draw heavily on it. He’s called his first novel, My Morocco, "The story of my Moroccan life” and his subsequent novels—Salvation Army and An Arab Melancholia—are both bildungsromans of a person like him, from the place he’s from, going on the kind of journey of self-discovery that he has gone on.

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