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HOMELAND ELEGIES by Ayad Akhtar

Ayad Akhtar blurs the line here between memoir and fiction, and I have no idea which parts of this novel are true.  The writing is superb, and Akhtar gives us a peak into the soul of an American Muslim—born in Staten Island to Pakistani parents—in a post 9/11 Trump world.  Ironically, his father, who once served as Trump’s cardiologist, is a Trump voter and supporter, at least until Trump makes his Charlottesville comments.  The author narrates the book in first person in an almost stream-of-consciousness style, flitting from one spellbinding anecdote to another.  He struggles financially as a writer until he meets and becomes friends with a hedge fund manager who makes the author a millionaire, thanks to some unethical but barely legal investments.  If you are looking for a plot-driven book, this novel is not for you, but the stories are captivating in a dark sort of way, including the author’s bout with syphilis and his father’s malpractice lawsuit.  At its heart, though, this is the story of a man who has never lived anywhere outside the U.S. but is treated as a foreigner because of his skin tone and an unusual name.  He feels like an American less and less, because others don’t perceive him as one.  The “homeland” in the title is definitely the U.S., a country which he loves but which does not universally love him back.  This book makes me feel very WASPish and not in a good way.



This post first appeared on Patti's Pages, please read the originial post: here

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HOMELAND ELEGIES by Ayad Akhtar

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