What a book!

March 1, 2010

‘Exile’ by Richard North Patterson

Filed under: Fiction,Lawyer/trial,Mystery,Richard North Patterson — jacksheard @ 4:04 pm

This book is hard to review. Here’s the book in a nutshell: American Jew defends Palestinian Muslim Arab charged with planning the suicide bombing assassination of the Israeli prime minister. Whew!

As far as lawyer/trial novels go, “Exile” is pretty good. When David Wolfe — the Jewish lawyer — is planning his case, dealing with the U.S. attorney and actually at trial, the book has a good pace. It has action. It is enjoyable.

When the author drops out of fiction mode and into history mode, at first you feel yourself get smarter. But soon I felt myself getting confused. A lot. I know very little about Israel’s history. I am the first to admit that. This book beats the reader to death with the repeated tails of, well, death. Death to Jews. Death to Arabs. Fighting between Muslims and Jews. Turf battles. All of biblical proportions.  

For this reader in particular, this made the book a struggle. I don’t mind a little history and knowledge dropped while I’m reading, but I want to catch a little story with it. For much of the book, I got bored. So many fictional characters and situations mixed in with real people and history, I was confused.

But, at the same time, the author dropped in some pointed political issues that aren’t limited to Israel. The idea within a country or religion or political group there are subgroups that really don’t like each other and sometimes problems — serious, troubling problems — arrise isn’t just a Jew-Muslim thing. Think moderate Republicans and right-wing Republicans. Or, more simply, the U.S. may seem so united at the Olympic games, but back home we’re as divided as ever in my lifetime. The book looks at the many different factions within each side of the Muslim and Jewish worlds and how they interact, or kill each other.

Now, this may be very interesting to you. If so, by all means, read this book. But if you’re simply looking for another lawyer-goes-to-trial novel, this may seem a bit too heavy for you.

I should also add it has an interesting love triangle mirroring the political thunderstorm. It has twists and turns and … well, it’s interesting.

I’ll give it two and a half stars out of five, but again, that’s just me. In the end, I liked the book. But it was a tad too drawn out.

YOU WILL LIKE THIS BOOK IF: You dig history-infused fiction about lawyers, Jewish-Palestine-Israel-Muslim-Arab history or … nope, that’s about it.

Link to Richard North Patterson site.

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1 Comment »

  1. I just finished reading Exile and I just want to say how impressed I was with your understanding of the Israeli-Palestninan problem. I enjoyed going over the history of the conflict and your putting a human touch to each side. Your views of the Hamas and Iran are right on. I would have liked the ending to be a happy life ever after. It was one of the best books that I have ever read and I do appreciate the depth of your research.

    George Overstreet
    Commander U.S. Navy(Retired.)

    Comment by George Overstreet — August 16, 2010 @ 5:27 am | Reply


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