A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2020
"Capitalism and religious fundamentalism collide in Girod’s shimmering account of one man’s heresy and imminent execution."—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
Mansour al-Jazaïri is on his way to his public execution. As his faithful friend Hussein looks on, the crowd calls for his head. Gassouh! Gassouh! It is a time when age-old rituals play out amid skyscrapers and are replayed on smartphone screens in the air-conditioned corridors of shopping malls. Set over the course of a single day in the Saudi Arabian capital, Mansour’s Eyes weaves together several historical pasts: the time of Mansour’s great-grandfather, the Emir Abdelkader; that of Algerian independence; and that of another Mansour, Mansur Al-Hallaj, a Sufi mystic executed in 922. In this lyrical and ambitious novel, Ryad Girod looks at the post-Arab Spring world as its drive toward modernity threatens to sever its relationship with the ethos of Sufi thought and mysticism.