Sunday, January 27, 2013

Review: Children of Dust by Ali Eteraz

Title: Children of Dust
Author: Ali Eteraz
Year Published: 2009

Genre: Adult Non-fiction
Pages: 337
Rating: 4 out of 5

Location (my 2013 Google Reading map): USA (Alabama), Pakistan, Kuwait


FTC Disclosure: I bought this book myself and it's been sitting on my TBR shelf for a couple years

Summary (from the back of the book): Children of the Dust begins in rural Islam at the lowest levels of Pakistani society in the turbulent eighties. This intimate portrayal of rustic village life is revealed through a young boy's eyes as he discovers magic, women, and friendship. After immigrating with his family to the United States, Eteraz struggles to be a normal American teenager under the rules of a strict Islamic household. In 1999, he returns to Pakistan to find the villages of his youth dominated by the ideology of the Taliban, filled with young men spouting militaristic rhetoric, and his extended family under threat. Eteraz becomes the target of a mysterious abduction plot when he is purported to be a CIA agent, and eventually has to escape under military escort.

Back in the US with his fundamentalist illusions now shattered, Eteraz tries to find a middle way within American Islam. At each stage of Eteraz' life, he takes on a different identity to signal his evolution. From being pledged to Islam in Mecca as an infant, through Salafi fundamentalism, to liberal reformer, he desperately struggles to come to terms with being a Pakistani and a Muslim.

Review: This book has been staring at me from my TBR shelf for a couple of years so I am proud of myself for finally taking it down and reading it! I am only participating in one challenge this year and it is the Middle East Reading Challenge hosted by Maphead so this book counts for that.

I am not really sure what to say about this book. I am not sure I'd recommend it to someone else, but I also didn't give up on it, which I do if I don't like a book. Here are some quick thoughts:
  • The book covers the author's personal journey with Islam and being a Muslim (kinda' interesting, but a bit too heavy on the religious intellectualism for me)
  • The author thinks he is always right and everyone who disagrees with him is wrong
  • He has some really funny moments where he works very hard in college to prove "how Muslim and pious" he is when he really just wants to have sex

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