In Ayad Akhtar's new novel, the narrator's fine intelliigence grapples with the irreducible complexities and unresolvable ambiguities of being an American-born son of Pakistani Muslim immigrants. A lot happens to him in this story: he lives through 9/11, wins a Pulitzer Prize as a playwright (Akhtar himself is a Pulitzer-winning playwright; it's unclear--artfully so--how much of the book reflects actual events in his life). He makes a lot of money--though not through playwriting-- and lives the high life for awhile. But he is always dealing, if only by denial, -with his Muslim/Pakistani heritage. He quarrels--regularly--with his father, who professes to love America, supports Trump, and scorns the life he'd have led if he'd stayed in Pakistan. (The book's ending is a wry and moving comment on that sentiment.) Though some of the conversations seem to serve as vehicles for raising political awareness, they are never clumsily done--the man is a playwright after all, and dialogue is his medium. The pleasure of the book lies in the voice of the narrator and his intelligent, scrupulously honest and nuanced rendering of an American experience most Americans never glimpse.
What We're Reading
You Might Enjoy
Poetry Events from Smith College
The Smith College Boutelle-Day Poetry Center is offering a season of virtual poetry readings by acclaimed poets.
Victoria Chang--February 23
Diane Seuss--March 23
Erika Meitner,--April 6
Ilya Kaminsky--April 20
To register for these events, visit the Boutelle-Day Poetry Center.
Travel and Adventure
Even if one can't travel, one can still read, learn, dream, and maybe--plan.
The Broadside Gift Card
Make a reader happy!
Please call us at 413-586-4235 to order a paper gift certificate. You can have the card sent to a local address, and the recipient can bring it in when they visit the store. Or we can keep the certificate on file and the recipient can use it to buy or order books.
Open a Broadside Credit Account!
Our Non-profit of the Month Program