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Sikander by M. Salahuddin Khan


Winner of the Grand Prizes in each of the 2010 Los Angeles Book Festival and the 2011 Paris Book Festival, SIKANDER is the tale of the son of a Pakistani middle-class family. It's 1986. Seventeen-year-old Sikander, dreams of studying and living in America, but after a family quarrel, he leaves his Peshawar, Pakistan home. Encountering mujahideen warriors, he joins them in their fight against the occupying Soviets in neighboring Afghanistan.

American assistance is stepped up with advanced weapons, like the Stinger missile, and the mujahideen are able to neutralize the Soviet military advantage. After just two years following Sikander's arrival, a Soviet withdrawal begins. Amid the turmoil, Sikander finds love and marries a young, sharp-witted Afghan village girl. With the fighting all but over, the couple decide to move to Sikander's Pakistan home where he hopes to reconcile with his family. But his dream of living in America endures.

It's a dream that is shattered in the aftermath of 9/11 and in seeking to help his Afghan relatives, Sikander, now a successful entrepreneur, finds himself on an unavoidable collision course with the America of his dreams.

SIKANDER takes us from the pricey suburbs of Peshawar to the primitive war-torn landscape of Soviet-occupied Afghanistan, to the placid serenity of Scotland, through the camps of Guantanamo, and finally, corporate America. It is a 21 year journey through freedom and captivity, love and loss, wealth and poverty, dignity and humiliation, and transgression and redemption. A rare glimpse of a non-radical mainstream Muslim's experience of the West, SIKANDER is a journey of growth, self-discovery, and hope. It will touch the humanity of its readers. Along with the two Grand Prizes, SIKANDER has collected numerous other awards inkling Best Fiction in the Hollywood Book Festival and the Beach Book Festival and Best Multicultural Fiction in the National Indie Excellence Book Awards for 2011.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780982851104
Publisher: QMarket Corporation
Publication date: 08/31/2010
Pages: 586
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.80(d)
Age Range: 204 - 3 Months

About the Author

Born of refugee parents from India into the newly created state of Pakistan, in 1952, M. Salahuddin Khan of Lake Forest, Illinois, earned a bachelors degree in aeronautics and astronautics from University of Southampton, England. He is a management consultant primarily in the areas of product development and marketing. In 2008, Khan was a Co-Executive Producer of a 12-minute short movie called The Boundary, starring Alex Siddig of Syriana, Kingdom of Heaven, and Star Trek, Deep Space Nine fame. The movie dealt with the issues of civil liberties at a U.S. border crossing in a post 9/11 world. Salahuddin has been published online and in print in such media as the Huffington Post and the San Francisco Chronicle and has made numerous radio and TV appearances for his views on Americas relationship with Islam and with Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Between 1998 and 2007, the author served as Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President of Global Marketing and Strategy for NAVTEQ Corp. From 2006 to 2008, he was also the publisher of ISLAMICA Magazine.

In 2011 Khan's debut novel, SIKANDER, won the Grand Prize across all categories in the LA Book Festivala and the Paris Book Festival, along with being named the Best Fiction title in each of the Beach and Hollywood book festivals. It was also named the Best Multicultural Fiction title at the 2011 National Indie Excellence Book Awards. In 2012, Khan was also recipient of the CAIR Chicago Book Award.

Before 1998, Khan was the Chief Technology Officer for Computervision Corporation in Bedford, Massachusetts.

Khan is a designer, engineer, artist, writer, inventor (he is named on several US patents), and worldwide traveler.

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SIKANDER 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Icecream18 More than 1 year ago
Sikander is the main character and, when the reader first meets him, he is full of hope for his future and pretty young. Due to bad circumstances behind his families control, Sikander's family falls on hard times. When Sikander and his father discuss this, they argue and Sikander takes off. Sikander goes to Afghanistan and fights with them against the Soviets, he later marries an Afghan woman. When he returns to Pakistan, he is able to live comfortably. The story takes off from there. The reader will love this author's fresh perspective on the Middle Easy and the lifestyle and culture of the area. Sikander's character is upfront and honest, the reader will experience the environment through his eyes, nothing is held back. As a character, Sikander is honorable, brave, and determined. He is very easy to connect with and like, he also appears dynamic...realistic. The secondary characters can make the reader feel as if he/she met them in real life. They round out the story. The events are fast-paced, exciting, and should be interesting to any reader remotely intrigued by history and current events. This book is recommended to adult readers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There are so many misconceptions among Americans in regard to Middle Eastern culture and history - especially since 9/11. Salahuddin Kahn opens discussion about these topics through his fictional tale of Sikander, and delivers his message in a miraculous way. Although it hits on serious issues, the story is captivating, and will definitely leave you thinking and feeling differently than you did before reading. His research and experience definitely shows! I highly recommend this!!!
TB164203 More than 1 year ago
Using an engaging fictional character and story, Khan skillfully takes the reader into the societal, geographical and political warp and weave of Pakistan and Afganistan. Thru Sikander, the author provides a way to see the Soviet invasion (and ultimate expulsion) of Afghanistan, the tragedy of 9-11, the relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan, and the "American Dream".....and how the policies of the U.S. may be contradictory to both its stated intentions, and that dream. Reading Sikander may simultaneously answer and generate questions, bring perspective, cultural understanding and allow reasonable contemplation of another point of view. This was a read, pause, think, proceed type of book......
SheilaCE More than 1 year ago
Sikander, a Pakistani youth who has led a comfortable upper-middle class life, dreams of one day visiting America, a country for which he has developed a great fondness. But his dreams are smashed when, after a heated family argument, he flees his home and manages to find himself in the midst of a nation's struggle for liberation from an imperialist enemy. But joining the mujahideen warriors in their fight against Soviet oppression in Afghanistan is only the beginning of Sikander's remarkable story that takes him all the way across the ocean to a country which was once only a part of his dreams. It is the same country that is bound to become a nightmarish proving ground for him. Join Sikander on his journey of self-discovery, loss, growth, and personal evolution as he learns what it means to live in a world as tumultuous as this. Sikander is M. Salahuddin Khan's first effort at the craft of a novel. It is perhaps for this reason that the novel will seem even more impressive for its eloquence and quality. This remarkably well-crafted bildungsroman-style story is an excellent start for Khan, though he is no stranger to the field of writing. He has served as publisher for the "highly regarded" Islamica magazine and is respected by his peers at the online writer's community, where his articles usually rank somewhere in the range of the top five to ten percent. Readers who are partial to coming-of-age novels, stories that involve the culture and character of the Middle East and Pakistan (specifically), or exciting, yet well-grounded works of biographical fiction will especially enjoy the novel Sikander. Also, readers who enjoy fiction related to current national and/or global struggles should definitely look for this novel on bookstore shelves this July.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Man_Of_La_Book_Dot_Com More than 1 year ago
Sikan­der by M. Salahud­din Kahn is a fic­tional book which chron­i­cles the life of a Pak­istani man and how it changed after 9/11. While this book could be con­sid­ered a com­ing of age story, I believe it is more. Sev­en­teen year old Sikan­der is stu­dious Pak­istani who dreams of Amer­ica. His plans change after a rag­ing quar­rel with his fam­ily which prompts him to leave home. End­ing up as a mujahideen war­rior in neigh­bor­ing Afghanistan, Sikan­der fights the Sovi­ets and due to his lan­guage skills is picked to go to Scot­land in order to learn Stinger missiles. As the Sovi­ets retreat, Sikan­der returns to a life in Pak­istan, mar­ries a beau­ti­ful Afghani woman and becomes a suc­cess­ful busi­ness­man. How­ever, Sikander’s life is thrown into tur­moil after 9/11 when, through unfor­tu­nate coin­ci­dences, his trip to Amer­ica is more per­ilous than he envisioned. Sikan­der by M. Salahud­din Kahn is not only inter­est­ing, fas­ci­nat­ing and well writ­ten, but also an absorb­ing glimpse into the daily lives of mod­ern Mus­lims. The cul­tural insights of the book were delight­ful and you will find your­self immersed in them from the beginning. Mr. Salahud­din brings fore­front the chaos and con­fu­sion which cause the pro­tag­o­nist, Sikan­der, both grief and joy. As with other nov­els I enjoyed, Sikander’s life inter­twine in world events beyond his con­trol. As with many of us, we find that very rarely are their big, defin­ing moments, but only small ones which come together to tell the story of our lives. The book also explores the con­se­quences and impacts wars have on both sol­diers and indi­vid­u­als. With the exploita­tion of the “War on Ter­ror” in the media and the short­ened sound-bite atten­tion span, it is easy to for­get that there are actu­ally peo­ple involved and that it is not merely video games played on green screens with big boys toys. As the geo-political sophis­ti­ca­tion of many Amer­i­cans grew so did the acknowl­edge­ment that not all, if not most, of Mid­dle East­ern­ers are “bad”, so did Sikan­der. From a Pak­istani boy to the patri­arch of his fam­ily, from a strug­gling stu­dent to a suc­cess­ful busi­ness­man. Through the eyes of the pro­tag­o­nist we read about com­ing of age in a time of war which first as seen as a bless­ing, then as a curse and ends up, as all things in life – a com­bi­na­tion of both. His­tory and con­flicts can be told from sev­eral angles. The big pic­ture gives the reader some con­text, but to get deeper under­stand we have to delve to per­sonal sto­ries in order to put events within said con­text. The book will give you a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive of the Afghanistan/Pakistan region. The cul­ture, con­flicts, cui­sine and most impor­tantly – peo­ple – all come through to vivid life.
BookReviewz More than 1 year ago
M. Salahuddin Khan writes in the preface to his novel that he wishes to clarify that "the story's setting in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the USA is secondary to its core focus being that of an examination of human nature and behavior across the boundaries between cultures" and that he hopes the reader will "enjoy the story." Sikander justifies both the author's claim and hope. It is a good story, well told, peopled with believable and intriguing characters, and the underlying motif of a common humanity gives weight and texture without being pedantically intrusive. Sikander Kahn is a young Pakistani youth in 1986 who by chance finds himself fighting in the midst of the Afghan/Soviet war. Years later, again by chance, he finds himself in another strange world. As a shackled, tortured, and humiliated (and innocent)prisoner at Guantanamo, Sikander has survived incredible abuse and loss and in the process achieved a remarkable state of self-awareness "He was who he was¿and his essential self amounted to no more and no less than the sum of his values and the behavior toward which they would guide him. " Further, this perspective has given him new insights about his captors, "as people trapped in their own circumstances." But despite the author's caveat, the very best part of Sikander, at least from the stand point of an American reader, is the story's setting. To begin with, Khan has a great eye for natural beauty and everywhere his hero goes, the world springs to life. He compares the breathtaking sheer white peaks of Spin Gar and Hindu Kush to the "tranquil humility" of the Isle of Skye , and his description, as the Khan family watches the twin towers collapse on CNN--"slowly surreally, the south tower started sinking into the ground as if a giant trap door had been opened beneath it by some evil, unseen hand¿" is so visually compelling that one catches one's breath and can hardly read on. Always one knows where in the sky to look for the moon, catches the faint aroma of bougainvillea mixed with the kerosene smells of jet engines, notes the way the half meter end of a turban hangs, the blue of the burkhas, the dust on a car. Such important cultural concepts as melmasthia and Pashtunwali are carefully defined in the Glossary but there are often little, throw-away phrases, that reveal a world that is indeed "foreign" to an American. "The Pashtun way was oddly comfortable with the notion of captivity, ransom and release¿thus, if a Pashtun was unlucky enough to be captured, he would be ransomed for the equivalent of fifty or a hundred dollars and let go. It didn't much matter if the captive was fellow tribesman, clansman, or sworn enemy." Equally fascinating is the insight into the relationship between the Pakistani public and military and the Taliban which could not be reversed abruptly simply by American pressure on Musharraf. It is, of course, extremely important to remember that we all share one humanity, but Khan has served his readers equally well by reminding us that we must look for and recognize integrity in difference.
The_Paperback_Pursuer More than 1 year ago
Description: In 1986, Sikander is a seventeen year-old Pakistani who dreams of going to America to study and live. But his plans are crushed when he flees his home after a disagreement with his family, which leads him to join a band of mujahideen warriors who are fighting Soviets in Afghanistan. After two years away, the mujahideen prevail, and Sikander decides to return to Pakistan and make a life for himself. Here he falls in love with and marries an Afghan woman while running a successful business. But following the 9/11 terrorist attacks in America, turmoil ensues in the Middle East, and Sikander must help his wife's family flee from Afghanistan to Pakistan, a dangerous trek that ends in Sikander's capture, torture, and imprisonment by U.S. Forces. The land he's always dreamed of is now a painful scarring nightmare that he may not survive. Review: M. Salahuddin Khan's first novel is a remarkable coming-of-age journey full of rich detail and remarkable characters. I wasn't sure what to expect when I first received it, but after a few chapters, I knew that I was reading an amazingly crafted and emotionally charged novel. The characters are realistic and well-developed, seemingly taking on a life of their own through the well-written dialogue. The details are vivid and captivating, allowing the reader to experience the Middle East as beautiful one moment and war-torn the next. The plot flows nicely and is very solid, never losing ground and keeping up the fast-pace. The style reminded me of The Kite Runner, another excellent book, and I recommend both to adults interested in the Middle East, biographical historical fiction, or those who just want to read excellent stories about life's journey. Rating: Clean Getaway (5/5) *** I received this book from JKS Communications in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago