Today I am rather wishing that I could read Urdu. A new “jihadi novel” entitle Eternal Shine is now available free for the download on jihadist websites. I am not aware of any previous such novels, though I certainly would not want to say that this is the first to exist. (After all, I read almost all jihadist materials in translation and few institutions or individuals would have an interest in translating fiction.) Of course, some of the purportedly non-fiction jihadist narratives that exist are extensively embellished, even to the extent of engaging in flights of fancy, but that’s still not the same as avowed fiction.
Novels can potentially tell us quite a lot about the milieu out of which they arise as well as about their authors. Saddam Hussein, for instance, wrote some notoriously bad novels, but the summaries I have read of them indicate that they revealed a lot about the man and how he viewed himself and his place in the Iraqi and Arab nations.
I shall be paying attention to see if any summaries or–dare I dream?–translations of this work show up on the web.