Customer Reviews for

American Dervish: A Novel

Average Rating 4.5
( 38 )
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(17)

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 38 Customer Reviews
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  • Posted April 19, 2012

    I could not put this book down. I heard the author interviewed o

    I could not put this book down. I heard the author interviewed on NPR's Fresh Air and immediately knew that I wanted to read this book and just about anything else written by him. The story is told through the eyes of a young man who recalls his boyhood relationship with his parents and his aunt, who gives him the loving encouragement he seeks during his study of the Quran. While he takes on the huge task of memorizing the Quran to become a hafiz, his aunt reminds him again and again to seek its meaning from the heart of intension, not simply as a trophy for the ego to conquer. Meanwhile, his father's close friend, who happens to be Jewish, courts his aunt and old deep seated prejudices and hatreds in the Muslim community conspire to destroy their love. The story told is compelling and heartening for the main reason that it takes on such difficult issues within Muslim culture as it carefully weaves in the boy's inspired religious innocense and coming of age to meet these hard realities. The end result was refreshingly human as well as it was disturbing. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to have an intimate glimpse into the life of a modern Muslim family and its struggles to assimilate into American culture.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 12, 2012

    Very perceptively written. A very unusual coming-of-age book, d

    Very perceptively written. A very unusual coming-of-age book, dealing with issues of immigrants and their American-born children; the religiously observant and the skeptics, and the extremes found among both; anti-Semitic factions and Muslims who believe adamantly in the subjugation of women, and the women who are torn between fighting for their own self-worth and independence, and following the faith in which they were raised.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2012

    Beautiful book

    This was a wonderful book. It is an interesting look at a young American boy's experiences with his faith. I found the characters of both his mother and father to be intruiging. Highly recomment this book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 16, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    American Dervish by Ayad Akhtar was a book that I enjoyed.  Hay

    American Dervish by Ayad Akhtar was a book that I enjoyed. 

    Hayat is a character that I just wanted to yell at!  I really liked him, but could see him going down the wrong path a few times.  But that made me more engaged in the story itself.  

    This book takes you into a small piece of the Muslim world in America.  The characters in the book are torn with feelings about Jews: some see them as completely terrible as "evidenced" (reading the literal, as some sects of religions do with the Bible and Torah) in the Quran, while others read something opposite in the same words.  

    Hayat and his family have to make faith-based decisions on those feelings, and this fictional tale is one that will leave you wanting more.  

    Thanks for reading,

    Rebecca @ Love at First Book

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 29, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I was sucked into this from the first chapter. I tend to enjoy t

    I was sucked into this from the first chapter. I tend to enjoy these “coming of age” stories and especially where we are dealing with an individual trying to straddle two different cultures. I really think the author did a wonderful job laying out this story. I know there have been some critics that complained he “told” the story more than he let it reveal itself. I disagree because I personally don’t have a problem being “told” a story if the context makes sense and it is done appropriately.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 23, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    I did not want this book to end--I fell in love with it after th

    I did not want this book to end--I fell in love with it after the first few chapters. I love learning about the Islamic tradition and this book has been on the top of my reading list. I found the coming-of-age story to be emotional and engaging, and Akhtar's writing is very honest, which solidifies this as one of my favorite books now! I highly recommend Censoring an Iranian Love Story--it has been my #1 favorite since it came out. I look forward to reading more from Akhtar.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 19, 2012

    check

    GOOD!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2014

    Unlike other resources out there, American Dervish does not suga

    Unlike other resources out there, American Dervish does not sugar coat the issue of interfaith relationships. It uses the perspective of a young boy, Hayat, (around the age of 11) to explore, in one facet, the way that he sees his auntie Mina (a Muslim) and his father’s friend, Nathan, (a Jew’s) interfaith relationship. However, their relationship is highly problematic. Mina has convinced Nathan to convert to Islam, yet he cannot shake his Jewish identity. In a particularly shocking moment, the members of the mosque bully Nathan out after cornering him in a shoe closet when he protests the Imam’s particularly hateful speech about Judaism. He has gone there to convert in order to marry Mina and yet this is the beginning of the end to their relationship. The involvement of the community destroys their individual love. While many interfaith couples think that they can create their own individually combined religious values despite their respective religious traditions’ opinions, this book paints a very different picture of the situation. No matter how much in love they were, they were still tied to their traditions because community and culture mattered. This book offered a different perspective on interreligious relationships, which sought to problematize what happens when love doesn’t conquer all. 
    The novel shoots for realism, and achieves it in many ways. It is beautifully written and compelling. However, what needs to be asked is what is the source of the conflict amongst all the characters? Religion is problematic, not love. It is not simply the bigoted few, who seek to destroy the relationship of Mina and Nathan, but the seemingly innocent religious views of the main character, Hayat, and the religious leaders of the community, the imam and co. . Then, why cannot Mina and Nathan love each other? The answer is not only religion, but Islam. Interfaith relationships may work, but surely not when Islam is involved because it only causes pain and suffering. It is not just any religion that is tearing these two people apart, but the stereotypes about Islam. Islam doesn’t just happen to be a factor in their separation, but it is the factor. While this novel portrays the situations with vibrant realism, behind each situation are Islamophibic stereotypes being thoroughly reinforced. Not only is the entire faithful Muslim community (those depicted as attending mosque and reading the Qur’an) Anti-Semites, the men enforce patriarchy, and they violently beat their wives (because the Qur’an says so). The Muslims within this novel are an archaic bunch, and the only voice of reason, Hayat’s father, has completely turned away from Islam. The only positive portrayal within this novel of Islam is that it is not monolithic, however, because Hayat turns away from his original interpretation of the Qur’an, the uninformed reader sees the Imam and other negative characters’ interpretations of Islam as the real truth of all Muslims. If one was reading this book and looking for reasons to hate Muslims, they would be justified on almost every front. This book portrays a complex and complicated view of intermarriage because it is another mode for critiquing Islam itself by reinforcing stereotypes about the Muslim community. 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2013

    Excellent

    :

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2012

    Highly Recommended

    In light of world events, I believe this is a must read to get a feel of the various views of the Islamic community of the U s.

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  • Posted August 24, 2012

    my book group is reading this and we are loving it.

    The many voices of Islam are expressed through very real family member's and their extended community. The parallel's that come up in my Torah study classes, within my Jewish community are startling in similarity. The story is engaging and well written.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2012

    I couldn't put it down! I loved it. It reminds me of Jhumpa Lahi

    I couldn't put it down! I loved it. It reminds me of Jhumpa Lahiri's
    fiction in that it is told from the point of view of American children
    of immigrants. I found the story absorbing and well written. Read it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2012

    An honest look at a Muslim family

    There are many American dysfunctional families but to read how Islam dictates family requirements is eye-opening. I highly recommend this book about a young boy, his beautiful aunt from Pakistan and his parents. I understand this is a first novel. The characters are very well drawn out and the plot builds. It's great!

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  • Posted April 11, 2012

    I really enjoyed the story, and didn't want the book to end. I

    I really enjoyed the story, and didn't want the book to end. I am hoping there will be a continuation, as I really want to know how Hayat's life and his parents lives, and Mina's kids end up.

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  • Posted April 6, 2012

    I was so incredibly disappointed after reading this book. It por

    I was so incredibly disappointed after reading this book. It portrays Muslims as angry and extremist monsters. This book did a great disservice to the large amounts of Muslims that live in North America peacefully. I wish Ayyad Akhter would have used his talents in a better way.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2012

    Anonymous

    We see through a child's eyes, trying to make sense of adult conflicts, hypocrisy and senseless hatred, finally coming to terms with and embracing the freedom of uncertainty. A wonderful read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2012

    Awesome

    I want mire

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2012

    Highly recommend

    Love, love, loved this book...Could not put it down!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2012

    Great book!

    I really enjoyed this book. It's a fast read. Keeps you interested.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2012

    Sooo good

    Get this i loved it

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 38 Customer Reviews
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