BookBrowse Reviews American Dervish by Ayad Akhtar

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American Dervish

A Novel

by Ayad Akhtar

American Dervish
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  • First Published:
    Jan 2012, 368 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2012, 384 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Megan Shaffer

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A debut novel about an American Muslim family struggling with faith and belonging in the pre-9/11 world.

Author Ayad Akhtar chose well when he decided to title his captivating debut novel American Dervish. Linking culture and custom, Akhtar draws on the traditional definition of the Muslim dervish - a Muslim noted for devotional exercises, bodily movements leading to a trance - while basing this modern story on the figurative use of the term - one that whirls or dances very quickly, with abandonment or compulsion. Akhtar's story of compulsive passion is a cross-cultural journey that pivots on love and spins on regrettable snap decisions.

We all face impetuous moments of choice in our lives. Whether it's the quick key-tapped send of an unwise email, the press of an ill-issued text or an impulsive blurt of secrets, our rash actions become non-retractable deeds that swiftly leave us and take on a life of their own.

Hayat Shah is an American boy loosely tied to his Pakistani past. When ...

Ayad Akhtar Listen to NPR's interview with Ayad Akhtar to find out more about his experiences growing up Muslim in the Midwest.

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