A disorienting fictionalized portrayal of 9/11 mastermind Mohamed Atta and the meaning of madness.
Ours is a century of fear. Governments and mass media bombard us with words and images: desert radicals, “rogue states,” jihadists, WMDs, existential enemies of freedom. We labor beneath myths that neither address nor describe the present situation, monstrous deceptions produced by a sound bite society. There is no reckoning of actuality, no understanding of the individual lives that inaugurated this echo chamber.
In the summer of 1999, Mohamed Atta defended a master's thesis that critiqued the introduction of Western-style skyscrapers in the Middle East and called for the return of the “Islamic-Oriental city.” Using this as a departure point, Jarett Kobek's novel ATTA offers a fictionalized psychedelic biography of Mohamed Atta that circles around a simple question: what if 9/11 was as much a matter of architectural criticism as religious terrorism? Following the development of a socially awkward boy into one of history's great villains, Kobek demonstrates the need for a new understanding of global terrorism. Joined in this volume by a second work, “The Whitman of Tikrit”—a radical reimagining of Saddam Hussein's last day before capture—ATTA is a brutal, relentless, and ultimately fearless corrective to ten years of propaganda and pandering.