Children of Dust: A Memoir of Pakistan

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9780061567087: Children of Dust: A Memoir of Pakistan

“[Eteraz’s] adventures are a heavenly read.” — O, the Oprah magazine

“In this supremely assured, lush, and rip-roaring book, Eteraz manages to do the impossible, gliding confidently over the chasm that divides East and West. Wildly entertaining…memoir of the first order.” —Murad Kalam, author of Night Journey

Ali Eteraz’s award-winning memoir reveals the searing spiritual story of growing up in Pakistan under the specter of militant Islamic fundamentalism and then overcoming the culture shock of emigrating to the United States. A gripping memoir evocative of Persepolis, Reading Lolita in Tehran, and the novel The Kite Runner, Eteraz’s narrative is also a cathartic chronicle of spiritual awakening. Yael Goldstein Love, author of Overture, calls Children of Dust “a gift and a necessity [that] should be read by believers and nonbelievers alike.”

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From the Back Cover:

Ali Eteraz's Children of Dust is a spellbinding portrayal of a life that few Americans can imagine. From his schooling in a madrassa in Pakistan to his teenage years as a Muslim American in the Bible Belt, and back to Pakistan to find a pious Muslim wife, this lyrical, penetrating saga from a brilliant new literary voice captures the heart of our universal quest for identity.

Children of Dust begins in rural Islam at the lowest levels of Pakistani society in the turbulent eighties. This intimate portrayal of rustic village life is revealed through a young boy's eyes as he discovers magic, women, and friendship.

After immigrating with his family to the United States, Eteraz struggles to be a normal American teenager under the rules of a strict Muslim household.

In 1999, he returns to Pakistan to find the villages of his youth dominated by the ideology of the Taliban, filled with young men spouting militant rhetoric, and his extended family under threat. Eteraz becomes the target of a mysterious abduction plot when he is purported to be a CIA agent, and eventually has to escape under military escort.

Back in the United States, with his fundamentalist illusions now shattered, Eteraz tries to find a middle way within American Islam. At each stage of Eteraz's life, he takes on a different identity to signal his evolution. From being pledged to Islam in Mecca as an infant, through Salafi fundamentalism, to liberal reformer, Eteraz desperately struggles to come to terms with being a Pakistani and a Muslim.

Astonishingly honest, darkly comic, and beautifully told, Children of Dust is an extraordinary adventure that reveals the diversity of Islamic beliefs, the vastness of the Pakistani diaspora, and the very human search for home.

From the Back Cover:

An extraordinary personal journey from Islamic fundamentalism to a new life in the west

In this spellbinding portrayal of a life that few Americans can imagine, Ali Eteraz tells the story of his schooling in a madrassa in Pakistan, his teenage years as a Muslim American in the Bible Belt, and his voyage back to Pakistan to find a pious Muslim wife. This lyrical, penetrating saga from a brilliant new literary voice captures the heart of our universal quest for identity and the temptations of religious extremism.

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Ali Eteraz
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