American Dervish, by Ayad Akhtar

Spring books

This debut novel features ten-year-old Hayat Shah, a first-generation Pakistani American, who is attempting to find his identity as a Muslim.

In 1980s Milwaukee, he sees many different versions of that identity. The Pakistani community there centers on two men—a corrupt imam and Ghaleb Chatha, the businessman who funds the imam’s mosque. Both men are outwardly devoted to their faith and associate very little with anyone outside it. But they use their public piety and personal interpretations of the Qur’an to justify anti-Americanism, anti-Semitism, misogyny and other views that insulate their community.


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