Hayat Shah was captivated by Mina long before he met her: his mother's beautiful, brilliant, and soulfully devout friend is a family legend. When he learns that Mina is leaving Pakistan to live with the Shahs in America, Hayat is thrilled. Hayat's father is less enthusiastic. He left the fundamentalist world behind with reason. What no one expects is that when Mina shows Hayat the beauty and power of the Quran, it will utterly transform the boy. Mina's real magic may be that the Shah household, always contentious and sad, becomes a happy one. But when Mina finds her own path to happiness, the ember of jealousy in Hayat's heart is enflamed by the community's anti-Semitism-and he acts with catastrophic consequences for those he loves most.
Ayad Akhtar's debut novel portrays a Pakistani-American family living in the midwest in the 1980s. At the center of Akhtar's narrative is Hayat Shah, the teenage son of a staunchly secular father and a frustrated mother. When Hayat's mother's best friend, Mina, relocates from Pakistan to Milwaukee, things begin to change for the boy. Mina, whose husband recently divorced her for being too outspoken, is an open-minded and spiritual Muslim, who shares the Koran with Hayat. As he learns more about the faith, he also develops unreciprocated romantic feelings for Mina, which backfire with disastrous consequences when she falls in love his father's Jewish best friend, Nathan. AMERICAN DERVISH's portrait of a flawed but beautiful American family confronts religious hypocrisy as it tells a moving coming-of-age story.
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- January 9, 2012
- January 9, 2012
- Ayad Akhtar
- Ayad Akhtar (Narrator)