Terrorist by John Updike - review by John Dugdale

John Dugdale

High-School Jihad



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It’s striking how often America’s senior novelists have recently chosen education as a theme, as if identifying the way the country’s youth are taught and socialised as the key to its current malaise. In Saul Bellow’s Ravelstein, Philip Roth’s The Human Stain or Tom Wolfe’s I Am Charlotte Simmons, it’s a university that comes under scrutiny; but the latest work by John Updike, a teacher’s son, centres initially on a school.

Central High School, in New Prospect, New Jersey, is both where the eponymous protagonist studies and where the real, unlikely hero of this hybrid novel – part thriller, part psychological study – teaches.

The former is Ahmad Ashmawy Mulloy, who lives with his mother Teresa and is

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