Michael Muhammad Knight Impossible Man

ISBN 13: 9781593762261

Impossible Man

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Recognized by readers of his novel, The Taqwacores, as the godfather of American Muslim punk, Michael Muhammad Knight is a voice for the growing number of teenagers who choose neither side of the Clash of Civilizations.” Knight has now written his personal story, a chronicle of his bizarre and traumatic boyhood and his conversion to Islam during a turbulent adolescence.
Impossible Man follows a boy’s struggle in coming to terms with his father a paranoid schizophrenic and white supremacist who had threatened to decapitate Michael when he was a baby and his father’s place in his own identity. It is also the story of a teenager’s troubled path to maturity and the influences that steady him along the way. Knight’s encounter with Malcolm X’s autobiography transforms him from a disturbed teenager engaged in correspondence with Charles Manson to a zealous Muslim convert who travels to Pakistan and studies in a madrassa. Later disillusioned by radical religion, he again faces the crisis of self-definition.
For all its extremes, Impossible Man describes a universal journey: a wounded boy in search of a working model of manhood, going to outrageous lengths to find it.

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From Publishers Weekly:

Knight's unconventional coming-of-age memoir combines the familial pathos of Augusten Burroughs with a religious awakening narrative borrowed from Malcolm X. The result is a coherent and entertaining work that manages to include the terrifying effects of a schizophrenic father, detailed analyses of major Wrestlemania events and a continuous explanation and deconstruction of Islamic teachings. Knight has an established cult following in the American Muslim community as a result of his novel The Taqwacores, which imagines a Muslim punk rock movement that subsequently became a reality thanks to the book's popularity. Knight offers an engaging story of Islamic conversion and questioning, which focuses on the universal vulnerability of being an intelligent and confused child and teenager with a dysfunctional family. Knight's anecdotal style keeps things lively: he meets his father, who speaks in cryptic and vulgar epigrams; deals with the awkwardness of explaining to American females the strict Muslim precepts forbidding contact with women; and learns humility in Islamic summer camp. While most readers probably wouldn't want to experience much of what Knight puts himself through (a subplot involving his love of wrestling leads to some brutal descriptions of thumbtack-related injuries), the book's welcoming spirit and brash sense of transgression make the pain well worth it. (Apr.)
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Review:

"There is a book coming out called Impossible Man by Michael Muhammad Knight. Buy it and read it. That's all there really is to it . . . You will, in short, read one of the best books of recent years, and certainly one of the best coming of age stories ever written." --WHRW News

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