Every year Three Percent, a website devoted to books in translation run by Open Letter Books and the translation department of Rochester University, selects one work of fiction and one work of poetry for the Best Translated Book of the Year award. The shortlist was just announced, and we are so proud and pleased that Horses of God by Mahi Binebine (Tin House Books) made the list!
Horses of God is narrated from beyond the grave by one of four childhood friends who wrench an existence in the Sidi Moumen slums in Casablanca. They form a soccer team that competes with teams from the other slums and dream of a soccer as a vehicle to escape from the squalor, violence, and unemployment. However, their fate is changed when they are attracted to a religion that offers them guidance and purpose, and training in martial arts.
Their choices and decisions transform them from lives of despair to religious extremism, and ultimately to become suicide bombers. The book is based on the 2003 suicide bombings at Casablanca’s Hotel Farah.