The Death of Murat Idrissi

Scribe. Jan. 2021. 112p. ISBN 9781950354368. $20. F
Echoes of Don Quixote and the Odyssey frame the journey of the young women Ilham and Thouraya in this latest from award-winning Dutch author Wieringa (These Are the Names). Born to Moroccan immigrants, Ilham and Thouraya are friends who grew up in the Netherlands. Their multiple identities—Dutch, Moroccan, and Muslim—cause conflict and produce confusion; though they have the passports of two countries, they are foreigners in both. While visiting Rabat, Morocco, they meet Saleh, someone they know from Holland, who offers to chaperone them. Saleh talks them into hiding a boy, Murat Idrissi, in the trunk of their car on their return to Holland. When the trip ends tragically, Ilham and Thouraya are forced to grapple with their humanity, friendship, and responsibility to their parents and themselves.
VERDICT In this taut, psychologically powerful tale, long-listed for the 2019 International Booker Prize, Wieringa’s masterly descriptions create a sense of foreboding. Wieringa excels at characterization while raising serious questions surrounding identity and immigration in a deceptively brief work. Highly recommended.

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