American Dervish

American Dervish

A Novel

Book - 2012
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A young Pakistani boy, whose parents left the fundamentalists behind when they came to America, finds transformation and a path to happiness through a family friend, Mina, who shows him the beauty and power of the Qur'an.
Publisher: New York : Back Bay Books, 2012.
Edition: First Back Bay paperback edition.
Copyright Date: ©2012
ISBN: 9780316183307
Branch Call Number: AKHTAR A
Characteristics: 356, 15 pages ; 21 cm


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Oct 17, 2018

This book was an eye opener. The emotions expressed by the author was unimaginable yet a typical story of an indo-pak family settled aborad. Every moment was enjoyed in this book and I hope this book gets appreciated more.

Nov 05, 2015

Boldly tackled the topic of an immigrant family and challenges when well-entrenched cultural and other sensitivities are challenged.

Sep 03, 2015

Akhtar is an author who tackles controversial issues surrounding identity, religion, and culture which are so relevant today, and he does it very directly. At home in both narrative and plays, he is never afraid of an issue. This story was great, and Mina is an arresting character. All the characters, though, display disparate parts of identity common to all of us but especially poignant today.

Nov 23, 2014

one of the best!! and written for the enhancement of understanding and peace

Jan 11, 2014

I really liked this book. What gripped me is the passion and incomplete understanding of a 12 year old, and how that can affect everyone around that 12-year-old. I think there was a great deal of honesty in the portrayal of a young adolescent, with all its downsides as well as excitement with the newly-opening world.

crankylibrarian Aug 16, 2013

Deeply upsetting, brutal assault of a book. Although I don't expect every character in a novel to be "likable" or even "relatable", I lose patience when every single character is an idiot, an asshole or both. Neither of the 2 protagonists; glutton-for-punishment wack job Mina or obscenely self absorbed Hayat made sense to me, and the secondary figures veered into caricature. I found it especially difficult to believe that Nathan, a well-educated Jewish doctor and the child of Holocaust survivors, would so blithely decide to convert to Islam and then be SHOCKED to discover that hard core fundamentalist Muslims might be anti-Semitic. (Wow, never saw THAT coming!) No one comes off well here: devout Muslims, Jews, secularists...even the little kid is an obnoxious brat. Akhtar claims to dramatize the "personal mystical exploration of faith" and the "need for a feminine spirituality within the Islamic tradition", but all he does is suggest that spirituality turns women into punching bags who gratefully accept being "ground into dust" for the glory of God.

Mar 29, 2013

I abandoned the book at about half way point. After enjoying the start of it, I got bored with one dimensional characters and a coming of age story which grew tedious. The only worthwhile aspects for me were the commentary on the Quran which were educational for me, but not enough to make me want to finish the book.

Jan 12, 2013

Written in a narrative of a twelve year old boy, the book is anything but simple. As the story unfolds so does the reader's picture of the Moslem community in the United States- from the fundamentally religious, through academically and emotionally religious, all the way to those who reject the religion. Fundamentalism, abuse of power, and disrespect for women on one side, especially among the older community members, through to various levels of understanding of the contemporary society by the young Moslems, all is covered in this beautifully laid out story.

Oct 14, 2012

This was an extraordinary book in that it included religion, relationships and conflicts within a Muslim community. The son's religious attitudes are in conflict with his Father's (a non-practicing Muslim). Although I'm sure that there are many Muslim men who are respectful of women, there are many who suffer at the hands of their husbands, fathers and family.

Jun 19, 2012

After the first few pages, I didn't think I was going to like this book but I kept reading because I use Nancy Pearl's rule of reading - Subtract your age from 100 and you are left with the number of pages to allow a book to grab you. That number gets smaller as you get older, because you have less time, and hopefully you are more discerning.

I'm glad I kept reading because the book grabbed me. It is about a you muslim boy living in the US and trying to find his place in the world and even in his family. The pull of different cultures and the sheltering he has within his own, sometimes leaves him on shaky ground.

When his "auntie" Mina come to live with the family, the world opens up a bit, but not without consequences.

I couldn't put this book down. I would recommend it to anyone.

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