“The Stoned” by Mouneer Soulaiman

The Stoned

Mouneer Soulaiman
Amazon (2019)
Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Reader Views  (1/21)

“The Stoned,” by Mouneer Soulaiman, is a searing, psychological military drama about a man in Syria seeking redemption for a wrong he caused against the woman he loved.

This fictionalized biopic is not for the faint of heart, and is for a mature audience only, as the violence may be too strong or controversial for younger readers. Also, those easily triggered may want to read with caution. Having said all of that, this book is a startling look at the life of a man named Fahd. He prides himself with the outer trappings of expensive clothes with designer labels, sexual exploits with women, and social/financial status. Syria is where he grows up, and he sees too much of the chaos going on around him. It takes a toll. It seems he can’t escape the impact of the war–on himself and the country he cherishes. But instead of choosing to avoid Syria, he seeks forgiveness of sorts–or at least a purging of his guilt concerning his beloved Basma. His journey is one of transformation, as he goes from someone with superficial values to someone who realizes his mistakes and tries to correct them.

Most of this book is hard to digest, and you will struggle through it just as Fahd does. This is why readers should give this novel a chance. Readers can always learn from material that makes us feel uncomfortable and can actually teach us something new.

Even though I don’t agree with all of Fahd’s choices, he is a compelling character, and I love how Soulaiman has carefully crafted the development of this character. It isn’t often you get to see such profound changes in a character, but it’s the kind of thing that draws you to a good book or film. If you’ve ever been caught up in turmoil, tried to make the right choices, or struggled to better yourself, you will appreciate this book.

I like the broadness of themes this author uses, from war to self-betterment, and the intense emotions and psychological aspects that go along with them. The first part of the book introduces you to Fahd and the pivotal incident that changes him forever. Soulaiman doesn’t sugarcoat this character or this story.

“The Stoned,” by Mouneer Soulaiman, is a realistic, gritty, sometimes dark portrayal of a Syrian man coming to terms with who he is, what he’s done, and his place in the tumultuous war-torn world he lives in.

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