Reverse-Gentrification of the Literary World

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News & Features » June 2016 » Native Believer is a New York Times Editors’ Choice!

Native Believer is a New York Times Editors’ Choice!

NativeBeliever_currentNative Believer by Ali Eteraz has received a phenomenal review from Pauls Toutonghi in the June 26, 2016 edition of the New York Times Book Review — and was named an Editors’ Choice for the week of July 3! See below for an excerpt, and click here to read the full review.

Eteraz’s publisher has taken an admirable risk with “Native Believer.” I found myself wondering — as I sped through its pages with alternating interest, awe and queasiness — whether Eteraz had set out purposefully to challenge his imagined readership, to engage in a kind of “noble protest” against the demands of literary commerce. I believe this novel will offend as many readers as it captivates. It is unflinching in its willingness to transgress taboos, whether those taboos are religious, sexual or both. And in the end, “Native Believer” stands as an important contribution to American literary culture: a book quite unlike any I’ve read in recent memory, which uses its characters to explore questions vital to our continuing national discourse around Islam. This is a novel that says (to borrow a line from Aimé Césaire’s “Discourse on Colonialism”), “Any civilization that chooses to close its eyes to its most crucial problems is a stricken civilization.”

This New York Times review is only the latest in great praise given to Native Believer. It was called “a nuanced work of social and political art” by Booklist and “A provocative and very funny exploration of Muslim identity in America today” by Kirkus Reviews, and it was recently included in O, the Oprah Magazine’s summer reading list.

Congratulations, Ali!

Posted: Jun 29, 2016

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