A former intelligence agent stands accused of terrorism, held without charge in a secret overseas prison. His memoir is in the hands of a brilliant but erratic psychologist whose annotations paint a much darker picture. As the story unravels, we are forced to assess the truth for ourselves, and decide not only what really happened on one fateful overseas assignment but who is the real terrorist. Peopled by a diverse and unforgettable cast of characters, whose reliability as narrators is always questioned, and with a multi-layered plot heaving with unexpected and often shocking developments, Jihadi: A Love Story is an intelligent thriller that asks big questions.
Complex, intriguing and intricately woven, this is an astonishing debut that explores the nature of good and evil alongside notions of nationalism, terrorism and fidelity, and, above all, the fragility of the human mind.
‘Smart and searing … a deeply felt depiction of morally fraught choices that result in devastating outcomes’ Publishers Weekly
‘Toropov writes an utterly fantastic tale, which does so many different things so well. The author captures the very essence of the “war on terror” and its psychological and moral complexities. It is a book of our time’ Edward Wilson
‘Jihadi is a gripping tale of a clash of cultures and individuals told with panache, dazzling wit and remorseless intelligence. More please’ William Ryan
‘If it was Yusuf Toropov’s intention to leave us pondering good and evil, right and wrong, love and loss, wondering who the good guys were, he certainly succeeded. I know one thing for sure, he’s a wonderful writer and a born storyteller’ Mari Hannah
‘Intriguing, thought-provoking and wildly original’ Steve Mosby
‘An exquisitely drawn debut, that twists and turns to its stunning conclusion. With echoes of Bellow, Pynchon and Kafka, Toropov’s tale is a modern classic that challenges our perceptions at every turn’ Cal Moriarty
‘Intelligently written and multi-layered … with its gorgeous language, rich detail and gentle wit, Jihadi is simply enchanting’ Qaisra Shahraz
‘A bold and skilfully executed novel that bravely tackles a complex and timely subject in accomplished and precise prose’ Frankie Gaffney
‘Timely and spookily prescient, Yusuf Toropov’s Jihadi: A Love Story is a magical mystery tour through a labyrinth of competing ambitions and motivations, wherein truth and justice are matters for interpretation’ Texas Booklover
‘It is not an easy story. It is, at times, complex and demanding. Some parts are harrowing. But two things grabbed me at that early stage: the quality of the writing, which is quite outstanding, and the intriguing setup. A US intelligence agent, accused of terrorism, is held in a secret prison. The decoding of his memoir is the starting point for a novel that has as its theme the very nature of truth and how it is perceived’ Safie Maken Finlay
Yusuf Toropov is an American Muslim writer. He’s the author or co-author of a number of nonfiction books, including Shakespeare for Beginners. His full-length play An Undivided Heart was selected for a workshop production at the National Playwrights Conference, and his one-act play The Job Search was produced off-Broadway. Jihadi: A Love Story, which reached the quarter-finals of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, is his first novel. He currently lives in Northern Ireland.
‘It’s typical of a Modernist novel in some respects, tearing on the existentialist heartstrings without being overtly sentimental or heavy-handed. The metanarrative elements, meanwhile, are straight out of a postmodern playbook. It’s a wonderfully poetic read. A novel for our times’ Ragtaggiggagon