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Disgraced

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4.06  ·  Rating Details  ·  736 Ratings  ·  105 Reviews
The story of Amir Kapoor (Aasif Mandvi), a successful Pakistani-American lawyer who is rapidly moving up the corporate ladder while distancing himself from his cultural roots. When Amir and his wife Emily (Heidi Armbruster), a white artist influenced by Islamic imagery, host a dinner party, what starts out as a friendly conversation escalates into something far more damagi ...more
Paperback, 112 pages
Published April 25th 2013 by Bloomsbury Academic (first published January 1st 2013)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,618)
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Sue
Apr 02, 2015 Sue rated it it was amazing
Shelves: drama, read-2015
I read this play on the recommendation of a friend who has seen the play and then bought a copy and promptly loaned it to me to read. My immediate response on finishing was "Wow!" I can't imagine how powerful this would be to see on the stage.

Amir and Emily are living a very good American life---she is a white artist, he an Indian/Pakistani lawyer with a high-powered New York law firm. She is hoping for her own show, he for eventual partnership. He has resoundlingly denied any and all Islamic ro
...more
Jeff
Apr 13, 2014 Jeff rated it it was ok
While I admire what Akhtar is up to here, I just don't see what Pulitzer Committee did. For one thing, this play suffers from what I like to call "God of Carnage" syndrome: let's get a bunch of upper-class, educated folk in a room and wait until they say terrible things to each other. In addition, I believe I have already read a play a character of Islamic background attempting to assimilate into the dominant culture but being driven to behave in the expected violently-stereotypical fashion by t ...more
Jamie
Hello, complexity! While this dialogue-driven play was a very fast read (kind of frenetic, really), it was not simple or easy in any way. I think this should be required reading/viewing for anyone who has an opinion about Islam, about racism, about prejudice, about blame, about culture...so yeah, everyone should read or see this performed. Very powerful and thought-provoking, to say the least.
Allan
Aug 11, 2013 Allan rated it really liked it
Shelves: plays
I have been planning on putting together and teaching a class about religion and theatre in America ... I really want to teach this play. It's so interesting. I appreciate that Akhtar criticizes white liberal privilege, but he doesn't leave it toothless or caricatured like I found with Clybourne Park. Still trying to figure out what to do or make with the ending, but definitely powerful stuff.
Elizabeth A
Sep 28, 2015 Elizabeth A rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, plays
Book blurb: Everyone has been told that politics and religion are two subjects that should be off-limits at social gatherings. But watching these characters rip into these forbidden topics, there's no arguing that they make for ear-tickling good theater.

I've always loved plays, and have fond memories of both watching regular productions as a kid, and also acting in several, and to this day The Sound of Music, and Fiddler on the Roof hold a special place in my heart.

There is something magical cr
...more
Ksenija Popović
Oct 12, 2014 Ksenija Popović rated it really liked it
In spite of many negative reviews I found here, I think this play deserves five stars.

I have lived away from my homeland almost all my life, and struggled with mentality, tradition and religion since always. It's like I never fit anywhere, because I'm too balkanic for the West, and too western for the Balkans. And that's exactly the protagonist's problem. He wants to condemn the way of life that has pushed his parents to emigrate, and embrace the western way to the point of denying and criticizi
...more
Craig Werner
Aug 08, 2015 Craig Werner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: multicultural, drama
It's been quite a while since I've encountered--in this case read, though I would really love to see a good production--a play as powerful, and as troubling, as Disgraced. A British-born Muslim (specifically Sufi--the distinction's important), Akhtar confronts a set of irresolvable issues concerning Islam in the western world, all of which comes to a head in the psyche of one of the central characters, Amir. Aggressively non-sectarian in his approach to his position in a prestigious law firm, Am ...more
Tex Tourais
May 29, 2014 Tex Tourais rated it it was amazing
What a play, what a play. Act III is an absolute punch to the gut, even in the reading of it. I can't imagine seeing this play performed, but I'm sure the experience is unforgettable...

We're dealing with Post-9/11 issues of Muslim identity and the role of art (and representation) in forming/deconstructing/exploding that identity, and, goodness gracious, does Akhtar pack a heckuva lot into 90 minutes.
Nahid Soltanzadeh
Apr 28, 2016 Nahid Soltanzadeh rated it it was amazing
Shelves: plays
OMG.
OMG.
(and I can repeat these three letters 100 more times)
This is definitely the most powerful, straightforward and yet so complicated, relevant play I've ever read.
The dialogs are like gunshots. They just bombard you with all the "sensitive" issues of religion in America in the extremest way possible. And you know what? After reading this play, the phrase "sensitive issues" seems so meaningless. "politically correct"? hah. These characters rub the naked truth of being oppressed in your face
...more
Evanston Public  Library
A play is written to be performed in front of an audience. Reading it is a separate experience, unenriched by another person's interpretation. Is it a lesser one? The reader can revel in the language, rereading lines, forming her own interpretation. It's akin to the difference between the book and the movie. This amazing and disturbing play, winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize, is a timely choice for thoughtful reading. Amir, a successful Pakistani-American lawyer in a high-powered Jewish New York ...more
Christian Engler
Jun 17, 2014 Christian Engler rated it it was amazing
Ayad Akhtar’s 90-minute one-act Pulitzer Prize-winning drama is one of those rare theatrical works that can leave a reader rather immobile when in the midst of processing the combustible nature of it. In the background of your mind, you think to yourself, Is he sincerely going to go down that road and say publicly what you and everybody else might be thinking but are too polite to mention in casual conversation? And then, he does. Then, a volatile awkwardness ensues, and you have to take a breat ...more
Rachelle Urist
Sep 26, 2013 Rachelle Urist rated it liked it
I'm surprised this won a Pulitzer. It has substance, sure, but there are a few too many contrivances and forced dialogue for this to have beat other contenders for that prize.

In his review in the New York Times, Charles Isherwood loved the acting, but had some reservations about the script. He wrote (towards the end of his review):

"There’s more than a little contrivance in the interlocking relationships among the play’s characters and in their schematically contrasted religious and cultural bac
...more
Mateen Manek
Dec 30, 2013 Mateen Manek rated it really liked it
This play was not what I imagined it to be when I began reading it. I recently bought it to take a glimpse into Muslim culture-based plays and other arts. I found it interesting as this was a contemporary piece that had a Muslim protagonist.

The play itself was written very well, with the characters staying true to their nature from the very start. The play itself was paced well, and didn't have too many dull moments. The scenes had good flow between them, and the conflict came organically. The e
...more
Rob
Mar 26, 2015 Rob rated it it was amazing
An incredibly provocative meditation on cultural identity and the deep-seated, often hostile, biases we carry with us that seem to emerge in our most stressful life moments. You will be thinking about this play long after its last line reverberates off the page (or the ceiling, if seen live). Outstanding!
Charles
Jun 08, 2016 Charles rated it liked it
Shelves: play
Play won 2014 drama Pulitzer. OK to me, but not my cup of tea. Deals with the problems of man of Muslim ancestry living in America where just a hint of his heritage destroys him.
Dennis Fischman
Jun 04, 2016 Dennis Fischman rated it really liked it
Shelves: drama
This is a play to read in one sitting, and then see performed, and then perhaps to read all over again. It introduces you to five characters who all have hidden depths and to a host of issues you'll want to consider. What are those issues?

On a personal level: why opposites attract; how very different people can make a marriage work, and when it fails, what happened; what it means to have conflicting loyalties to different people in your life, and to yourself.

On a political and cultural level: w
...more
Julene
Jan 17, 2016 Julene rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: play-theater
The play is in my city with a series of discussion groups, so I read the book and went to the first of four Speak Ups! "What is the Reality of being a Muslim at this moment in time?" then went to the play. One of the original actors was on the Speak Up! panel, Behzad Dabu who plays Abe, and he commented that when the book was republished the publisher removed the two epigraphs the author had at the front of the book:
"And when one prefers one's own children to the children of others, war is near
...more
Darby
Nov 15, 2014 Darby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: class
I really enjoyed this play, especially the beautifully written forward about reading plays instead of viewing them. Reading this for a theory class put an interesting perspective on my thoughts—such as can a work be literature if it's more effective/meant to be performed rather than read, what nuances am I missing or making up reading on my own, etc—and I really appreciated what Akhtar had to say about these ideas before starting to read his work (his idea of the extra white space accompanied wi ...more
Anjum
Jul 01, 2016 Anjum rated it liked it
Shelves: plays
Well, this play was something new to me in terms of what I read. It was not quite so new to me in terms of my life. I, myself, am American born to a Muslim father who immigrated from Bangladesh. I was raised very Western, however, and so I fell away from Islam very quickly. I personally don't like to take any part in it. I don't have this deep-sea resentment that Amir has, though I did identify with his beliefs somewhat. Basically, Islam just isn't for me.

It was interesting to see this written s
...more
mm
Feb 01, 2014 mm rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A modern discussion of what Islam is -- its beauty, its 21st century reality, and its shackles.

Emily: . . . The Renaissance is when we turned away from something bigger than ourselves. It put the individual at the centre of the universe and made a cult out of the personal ego . . . That never happened in the Islamic tradition. It's still more connected to a wider, less personal perspective.

Naive Western interpretation or true? The play implodes on this assumption, and more.
Kelly
Feb 06, 2016 Kelly rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This play won a Pulitzer, which is as amazing as it is disheartening. Like many people, I’ve spent a good deal of time reading and discussing issues of faith and identity in the context of global terrorism. This play’s conversations around these topics are eye-rolling in their mundanity; which may be realistic, but constitutes a missed opportunity to raise the level of discourse—and provide some fresh insight.

In addition, we’re treated to yet another display of grotesquely fortunate people fussi
...more
Jack Davidson
Apr 04, 2016 Jack Davidson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: play, own
I like Michael Feingold's quote from Village Voice "The theatrical equivalent of getting to know the new neighbors - something we had better do if we plan to survive as a civil society."
This quote perfectly encompasses what type of message this play is trying to share.
Susan
Apr 25, 2014 Susan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Disturbing. I can't imagine seeing this play performed but I can see why it won a Pulitzer. Dares to talk about the hurtful, painful realities of diversity.





Julie
Apr 07, 2014 Julie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: prizewinners
One of the most thought provoking plays I've ever read. I can't wait to discuss it with my lit group. So short and so packed.
One Pushy Fox
Nov 02, 2013 One Pushy Fox rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobook, 2013
Unbelievably powerful and profound. I am shattered and without words. So very heart rending.
Phyllis Gauker
Nov 16, 2014 Phyllis Gauker rated it really liked it
This is a play. There are lots of pages of interview with the author. Interestingly enough, the play was presented differently in different countries. I found this to be most interesting. For instance, in the USA we are used to movies, so the drama aspect had to cater to this end. One character is a Muslim who has renounced his religion, yet reveals that he can't escape his roots. His wife is white, but discovers Islam through art. They have two friends one of whom works with each of our origina ...more
Jason
Jun 08, 2015 Jason rated it it was amazing
a punch to the gut to read-SO good!
Andrew
May 11, 2014 Andrew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really don't know what to say. Amir is one of the most interesting characters I think I may have ever read. Not just in a play, but in literature in general. I don't condone some of his actions, or things he says, but he is still a likable and sympathetic character. There is a twist, and it was unexpected, but furthers the story instead of getting in the way like some twists have a tendency to do. After I finished reading it, I wasn't sure how I felt, and made me question and think. I believe ...more
Daniel Klawitter
Feb 28, 2016 Daniel Klawitter rated it it was ok
This play explores what the fragility of "the good life" looks like for a group of multi-ethnic upper-class characters in New York's capitalist, multicultural, post 9-11 America. A place where assimilationist pressure to conform still operates on several levels (economic, judicial, racial, etc.) as the characters in the play begin by good-naturedly bantering about art, politics and religion at a dinner party but find their ambitions for corporate ladder climbing, professional recognition and inf ...more
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Ayad Akhtar is a novelist, screenwriter, and playwright. Born in New York City and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, he is the author of American Dervish, published in more than 20 languages worldwide and a 2012 Best Book of the Year at Kirkus Reviews, Toronto's Globe and Mail, Shelf-Awareness, and O (Oprah) Magazine. He is also a playwright and screenwriter. His stage play Disgraced played at New Y ...more
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