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American Dervish: A Novel | [Ayad Akhtar]

American Dervish: A Novel

Hayat Shah was captivated by Mina long before he met her: his mother's beautiful, brilliant, and soulfully devout 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. He left the fundamentalist world behind with reason. What no one expects is that when Mina shows Hayat the beauty and power of the Quran, it will utterly transform the boy.
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Publisher's Summary

Audie Award Nominee, Narration by the Author or Authors, 2013

Hayat Shah was captivated by Mina long before he met her: his mother's beautiful, brilliant, and soulfully devout 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. He left the fundamentalist world behind with reason. What no one expects is that when Mina shows Hayat the beauty and power of the Quran, it will utterly transform the boy.

Mina's real magic may be that the Shah household, always contentious and sad, becomes a happy one. But when Mina finds her own path to happiness, the ember of jealousy in Hayat's heart is enflamed by the community's anti-Semitism-and he acts with catastrophic consequences for those he loves most.

©2011 Ayad Akhtar (P)2011 Hachette Audio

What the Critics Say

" [A] heartfelt first novel.... Akhtar's characters drive a story that's compelling and believable even at its most alien. American Dervish offers a rich look at a nearby world that many Americans don't know nearly enough about." (Entertainment)

"Loss of innocence-sexual, of course, but also cultural and religious-is the subject of Ayad Akhtar's poignant American Dervish, set in a Muslim-American community in the early 1980s.... With characters full of contradictions and complexity, this debut novel is refreshing for its lack of the political and religious hand-wringing so common in the post-9/11 world. But it's also resonantly familiar in its depiction of youthful obsession and the desire to belong." (O, the Oprah Magazine)

"a compelling debut with a family drama centered on questions of religious and ethnic identity.... Engaging and accessible, thoughtful without being daunting: This may be the novel that brings Muslim-American fiction into the commercial mainstream." (Kirkus, Starred Review)

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What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (208 )
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  •  
    Trish Virginia 09-06-12
    Trish Virginia 09-06-12 Member Since 2005

    I have always loved to read, and now I really enjoy listening to my books as well!!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Very Good Novel--"

    American Dervish was an interesting, eye-opening novel. I enjoyed it very much.

    This purchase was one of my many "bargains" that I pick up when Audible offers audiobooks cheap! And I was pleasantly surprised when I listened to it. It has a very good story and is narrated beautifully by the author. I truly enjoyed learning about the Pakistani culture and traditions (or the somewhat Americanized versions). It had some sad parts, but nothing tragic and unsettling. Definitely worth a listen--

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Judy Kirtland, OH, United States 09-03-12
    Judy Kirtland, OH, United States 09-03-12 Member Since 2011
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    "I loved it!"
    Where does American Dervish rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    One of my top favorites.


    Any additional comments?

    I love to read books that expand my worldview by taking me inside another culture. This was a very engrossing, well-written and narrated story, and I loved it. I read and listen to audiobooks a lot on my travels, and I'd definitely recommend this one to others!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Krispian 08-22-12
    Krispian 08-22-12 Member Since 2001

    The more you love books... the more books you love!

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    "Brilliant story, excellent narration"
    Would you consider the audio edition of American Dervish to be better than the print version?

    I would like to compliment the author on his narration. I found Ayad's reading to be as skillful as any big name voice actor and his handling of the many accents authentic and masterful - each character vibrant and recognizable. Bravo!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    margaret Terrall 08-20-12 Member Since 2004
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    "A Very Compelling Story"

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book, even though parts were hard to read. It helped me understand where Muslims' and Jews' slants on life come from. The book makes one realize what influence older people with slanted viewpoints have on younger minds and how people are driven to violent acts by something they were taught at a young age. The narrater/author did a fabulous job and it made me want to know more about him and his past.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gary Regan New York 08-20-12
    Gary Regan New York 08-20-12 Member Since 2009

    With Lotsa Love from gaz regn

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    "A Brave Book"
    Where does American Dervish rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This was one of the most moving, and enlightening, books I've ever listened to


    If you could rename American Dervish, what would you call it?

    If I could re-name this book I'd probably call it "Just Another American Family"


    Any additional comments?

    Like many Americans, I know little about Muslim family life, and I was drawn to this book because I wanted to learn a little about Muslim culture. Boy did I pick the right book.

    American Dervish is written without apology, it delves into the soul of a young boy growing up in a Muslim family in America in the 1980s. He struggles with his religion, takes it to extremes, then settles down when he sees the bigger picture.

    The family, and their friends, are comprised of many different characters, each with their own views on religion--both theirs and other folks' beliefs--and each of them lives their life in America on their own terms. Some are radical--though not uber-radical--and some try to fit into American society by befriending people from other religions.

    Guess what? They are like any other American family. This book is such a treat.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Teresa Lukey VANCOUVER, WA, United States 08-06-12
    Teresa Lukey VANCOUVER, WA, United States 08-06-12 Member Since 2012

    I love reading and going on vacation with my family.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Has potential, but just didn't hit the mark"

    Dumb young boy makes stupid mistake that dooms one woman to a life of pain. Boy feels terrible and eventually has the opportunity to apologize. That pretty much sums it up.

    I think this book had the potential to be better, had there been more depth to the story. Does that make sense? I enjoyed the story enough to finish it, although I found it relatively depressing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alex TROUTMAN, NORTH CAROLINA, United States 08-15-13
    Alex TROUTMAN, NORTH CAROLINA, United States 08-15-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Worst book i have ever read."
    What disappointed you about American Dervish?

    It really disappointed me how graphic the book became about a child discovering his body. The story was quite bland and lacked anything special. I was required to listen to the book for a class and an F had never sounded more appealing to me.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Ayad Akhtar again?

    No.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Ayad Akhtar’s performances?

    No.


    What character would you cut from American Dervish?

    All of them.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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