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Ali Eteraz was born in Pakistan and has lived in the Middle East, the Caribbean, and the United States. A graduate of Emory University and Temple Law School, he was selected for the Outstanding Scholar's Program at the United States Department of Justice and later worked in corporate litigation in vis mere Manhattan. He has published articles in Dissent, Foreign Policy, AlterNet, and altMuslim; and is a regular contributor to The Guardian UK. Visit the author online at vis mindre

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The author could not decide what he wanted this book to be, so chose to go in three different directions (which is fine, I guess), then ended on an absurdist 4th (which felt like it was written by someone else).
RekhainBC | 8 andre anmeldelser | Feb 15, 2019 |
Native Believer is the story of M., a second-generation Muslim American who knows almost nothing about the faith. M., who was raised in the South, is married to Marie-Ann, a white Southerner, and the two have made a rather comfortable life for themselves. It is only when M. throws a party for his co-workers and invites their new boss that things start to go bad for him – in a hurry.

The rather odd Germanic man seems to be enjoying M.’s company but when he spots a tiny Koran on the top bookshelf in M.’s apartment, the new boss makes an offhand comment about finding the Koran placed “above” all the other books on the shelves, especially those of some of the world’s most respected philosophers. The very next day, M. is called into the man’s office and fired.

M. wants nothing more from life than to be an American, a man with roots and children he intends to raise as modern Americans, not as Muslims. But after the murders of 9-11, it is not that simple. M. carries a Muslim name, and in today’s America, he is ethnically challenged enough to be seen as a suspicious person almost everywhere he goes. Now his life is falling apart.

His wife resents that he cannot find work, and the tension between the two aggravates the medical condition that causes her to gain huge amounts of weight in a matter of weeks. Their marriage is beginning to fall apart, and there is little that either of them seems to care to do about it.

M. is at a crossroads. As he wanders Philadelphia’s streets on foot, he runs into a group of devout Muslims who mistrust his lack of piety and want to convert him; he befriends a Muslim pornographer who says he is trying to get Americans to see Muslim men as anything other than terrorists; and Marie-Ann’s job brings him into contact with other Muslims who want him to help spread the good word about life in America to suspicious Muslims all around the world. In the meantime, M. feels like his world is being ripped apart.

Native Believer makes for a bit tedious reading at times, but it is filled with characters I wanted to know more about. M.’s struggle for a self-identity seems very real in today’s world, and I very much wanted to see how Eteraz would resolve his main character’s dilemma. Let’s just say that the book’s final two pages are nothing like I expected it would all end – so do not, under any circumstance, read the end of Native Believer first. Please.
… (mere)
SamSattler | 8 andre anmeldelser | Apr 4, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
It's hard for me to know what to say about this book. Although the writing is entertaining, as are the characters, the truth is that I just didn't enjoy it.. at all. On its face, I was excited to read it--the book presents the story of a man who, though raised as a Muslim, simply doesn't practice any belief system. When his boss fires him in an apparent reaction to his assumed religion, though, his wife and everyone around him seem to be pushing him to re-build his identity in direct relation to his being a Muslim, though he didn't even consider himself one to begin with. There's a lot of nuance to the psychology of what's presented here actually, and it's a story that ought to be told and discussed... and yet. Stylistically, and in terms of tone, there's not really anything about this book that I enjoyed, beyond the broadest possible look at the subject.

In some ways, I'd compare it to American Psycho, but with a cynical look at belief and love integrated where the other takes a look at consumerism and sex and violence. Another relevant comparison might be the works of Flannery O'Connor, because of this author's juxtaposition of cynical belief, or lack thereof, with characters who are as much grotesques as full-bodied presentations, entertaining as they are. And yet... neither comparison really gets at the work, though each pulls at a piece of what bothers me about it.

Simply, I suppose I just felt that everything was a little bit overdone, a little bit extreme. And maybe that's the point--I wouldn't be surprised if it is. But nevertheless, I'm afraid it made the book a struggle for me to get through.
… (mere)
whitewavedarling | 8 andre anmeldelser | Mar 4, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This book is very timely, and I feel like everyone ought to read it for that reason if nothing else. Some pacing issues but overall very solid.
mermaidatheart | 8 andre anmeldelser | Sep 20, 2016 |



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