I was drawn to “The Fox Hunt” because one of the four “strangers” in the book, who helped the protagonist escape war-torn Yemen, is not a stranger to me at all. In fact, she’s an Aussie-born, Atlanta-bred woman, who I’ve had the pleasure of knowing since her days at The Weber School, and which, of course, made the story a more compelling read on a personal level. That, coupled with the book’s current relevance and the fact that its author, Mohammed Al Samawi, is a sensitive human-rights activist, not a terrorist as some would have us all believe Muslim refugees are, made for a real page-turner.
Although the first half of the book established the context for the story and was mired with lots of facts about geopolitics in the Middle East in general, and Yemen in particular, the rather suspenseful second half of the book more than made up for the plodding beginning.
Overall, I would recommend this book; not only is it an inspirational story about how open-mindedness can help us overcome indoctrination and prejudice, but it’s also a story of resilience and how stumbling blocks in our lives – physical disabilities, for example – can empower us. Most of all, however, it’s a story of the power and positivity that social networks, as well as interfaith and cross-cultural alliances, can bring, and the new and creative ways in which social activism is happening. Although a memoir at its core, this book reads like a thriller and has already been optioned for the screen.
Mohammed Al Samawi will appear at the Book Festival 7:30 p.m. Nov. 8.