Wow. It's no wonder to me that Patti Smith won the National Book Award for this book. Not only is it beautifully written in her own very distinctive v...moreWow. It's no wonder to me that Patti Smith won the National Book Award for this book. Not only is it beautifully written in her own very distinctive voice, but it paints a picture of her life with Robert Mapplethorpe so vividly.
Their early relationship seemed to be the only stable thing during the most precarious times in their lives - Robert's illness when they first met, frequent hunger, pennilessness, and homelessness. Despite the difficulties, they seemed to have a series of lucky encounters or breaks. Their constant support of each other and encouragement in their art, combined with the creatives they met at The Chelsea Hotel, Max's Kansas City and throughout the artistic circles shaped their careers.
This book is basically one long love letter to Robert Mapplethorpe, New York City and Art. I believe that it should ONLY be listened to, as the audiobook is read by Patti herself(less)
American Dervish is an at times intense, yet readable and complex story of a young Muslim kid growing up in the Midwest. Hayat, born to somewhat secul...moreAmerican Dervish is an at times intense, yet readable and complex story of a young Muslim kid growing up in the Midwest. Hayat, born to somewhat secular Pakistani Muslim parents, begins to have an increasing interest in Islam when his mother's best friend Mina moves in with them. With strong admiration for Mina, Hayat goes to her to learn how to become a proper Muslim. His new-found faith begins to dominate his life as he strives to become one of the elite few who memorize the Quran in order to ensure that he and his parents will go to heaven.
This book seems to be a very honest, warts-and-all glimpse into Islam in the United States. (I read somewhere that the story is semi-autobiographical). While Hayat is ultimately a sympathetic character, there were times where I really got angry with him, but still wanted everything to turn out OK.
Recommended for fans of Jhumpa Lahiri because of its ability to show the disjointed lives of people living between the old world and the new.(less)