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Wendy Smith…a quintessentially American coming-of-age story…American Dervish so richly depicts a wide variety of humanly inconsistent and fallible characters that it feels reductive to call it a Muslim American novel, yet it is impossible to call it anything else because it is steeped in the tenets of Islam and a fierce debate over their deepest meaning…At the center of it all stands Hayat, who chronicles his odyssey from the believable perspective of hard-won maturity. The vivid particulars of his spiritual quest and emotional confusion embody universal experiences: growing up, learning to accept the faults of those you love (and your own), achieving an identity nourished by your roots but shaped by your individual needs and aspirations. Akhtar's poignant and wise debut announces the arrival of a generous new voice in American fiction.
—The Washington Post