Yasmina Khadra is the pen name of Mohammed Moulessehoul, an Algerian army officer who took a female pseudonym to avoid being censored by the military during the civil war. He now lives in France, having exiled himself there in 2001. His previous novel, The Swallows of Kabul, was set in Afghanistan under the Taliban; this one, shortlisted for the Prix Goncourt in France, concerns the Israel/Palestine discord.
Dr Amin Jaafari, the narrator, is a naturalised Israeli citizen and one of the finest surgeons in Tel Aviv. A model of Arab/Israeli integration, he enjoys the success and material trappings that have come through hard work and likeability whilst taking pride in having attained them despite the