Isabel O.'s Reviews > American Dervish

American Dervish by Ayad Akhtar
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Jan 13, 2012

did not like it
Read in January, 2012

After reading some rave reviews, I was looking forward to getting my hands on this debut novel. Having read it, what I’m reminded of is that it is the book BUSINESS.

Here’s what I like about the book: it’s visually provocative (the author has a film background); it’s a quick and somewhat entertaining read; there are a few beautifully written passages. Basically, it’s the book you take to the beach or read on a flight.

But no big loss if it gets washed away or forgotten in a seat back. It’s not a book that you will want to return to again and again---mostly because it lacks depth and subtlety. The characters are not human people but plot devices. The treatment of Islam is superficial and predictable: anti-Semitism, oppression of women, sexual repression. The tone is didactic and moralistic. There is something inauthentic and promotional feeling about the book. Basically, it feels like a paint-by-numbers book written in order to be controversial and made into a movie, which I reckon is quite likely.

Final thought: This is a fast food novel. Tastes alright, goes down quickly, but promises indigestion, and has little substantive value.
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Reading Progress

02/15/2016 marked as: read

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