Author(s): Ayad Akhtar
Hayat Shah was captivated by Mina long before he met her: his mother's beautiful, brilliant 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. Ever wary of fundamentalism, he doesn't relish the idea of Mina's fervid devotion under his roof. What no one expects is that when Mina shows Hayat the beauty of the Quran, it will utterly transform him. Mina's real magic may be that the Shah household becomes a happy one. But when Mina catches the eye of a Jewish doctor and family friend, Hayat's jealousy is enflamed by the community's anti-Semitism - and he acts with catastrophic consequences for those he loves most.
A stirring and explosive debut novel about an American Muslim family's struggle with faith and belonging.
A terrific first novel, warm and wise. -- Kate Saunders THE TIMES 20120121 this book is prescient and timely in both recognising and dramatically exploring this increasingly unbreachable social divide. ENTERTAINMENT FOCUS 20120118 his dialogue is free-flowing and natural, and he has a good eye for small visual details within a scene that colour the mood of the action around them. -- Alan Morrison THE HERALD 20120121 Both extremists and the ambivalent are accorded even-handed coverage and the characterisation is strong -- Catherine Taylor THE GUARDIAN 20120128 American Dervish is an extraordinary novel and one you certainly won't regret reading -- Roddy Ashworth SUNDAY EXPRESS 20120129 Akhtar proves the capacity of the great American stories to be endlessly renewed by each generation of writers -- Claire Allfree METRO 20120125 There are themes here reminiscent of The Go-Between by L.P.Hartley and Ian McEwan's more recent Atonement, of a life scarred by chame at a childish act that has catastrophic consequences in adult life. TLS 20120224 American Dervish is about the collision of cultures, identity and religion in 1980s America. BIG ISSUE IN THE NORTH 20130114 a pleasing read THE SUNDAY BUSINESS POST 20130120
Ayad Akhtar is an American-born, first-generation Pakistani-American from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He is the author of numerous screenplays and was star and co-writer of THE WAR WITHIN, which premiered at the 2005 Toronto Film Festival, was nominated for an INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARD FOR BEST SCREENPLAY and an INTERNATIONAL PRESS ACADEMY SATELLITE AWARD (Best Picture - Drama), and released internationally. AMERICAN DERVISH is his first novel.