Homeland Elegies

A novel

by Ayad Akhtar

Number of pages: 368

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

BBB Library: Booklets

ISBN: 978-0316496421

About the Author

Ayad Akhtar is a novelist and playwright. His work has been published and performed in over two dozen languages. He is the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the Edith Wharton Citation of Merit for Fiction, and an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.


Editorial Review

The first time my father met Donald Trump was in the early ‘90s. They were both in their mid-forties and coming out from under financial ruin. Trump’s self-named organization was crumbling under the weight of the debt he’d piled up his mistress was newly pregnant, and his ex-wife was destroying him in the public’s opinion. It was no surprise to anyone when he started experiencing heart palpitations. One morning, he collapsed face down on the sidewalk. The evidence pointed to a cardiac event, but the doctors couldn’t find anything abnormal in his heart.

Book Reviews

“Homeland Elegies is presented as a novel, Akhtar’s second, but often reads like a series of personal essays, each one illustrating yet another intriguing facet of the narrator’s prismatic identity. Like all autofiction, it induces the slightly prurient frisson of “truthiness,” the genre’s signature effect."

"It’s hard to convey the breadth and brilliance of this work. Exploiting his skills as a playwright and essayist as well as novelist, Akhtar depicts an immigrant family’s experience of the American dream through a son’s relationship with his father and dissects the erosion of truth, decency, and hope in a nation shaped by debt and money."

"The challenge of remembering one’s identity in a racist culture is also at the heart of Akhtar’s remarkable new book, “Homeland Elegies.” But here, Akhtar bounds far beyond the cleverly engineered drama of “Disgraced.” With its sprawling vision of contemporary America, “Homeland Elegies” is a phenomenal coalescence of memoir, fiction, history, and cultural analysis. It would not surprise me if it wins him a second Pulitzer Prize."

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Wisdom to Share

Almost ten years after 9/11, I wrote a play where an American-born Muslim confesses that as the towers fell, he felt an unexpected sense of pride which made him realize that despite his commitment to being an American, he still somehow identified with the mentality of what he saw as the enemy.

As part of their extended proxy war with America, the Soviets moved into Afghanistan in the 1980s, in a battle that would reach Pakistan soon.

The effects of war are always personal, but war itself is the leastpersonal thing.

Overhearing this, my father insisted on helping, and so we made a detour to the town of Hasan Abdal. I can only describe it as a shanty town.

A day spent reading is not a great day. But a life spent reading is a wonderful life.

The established majority takes its "we" image from a minority of its best and shapes a "they" image of the despised outsiders from a minority of their worst.

Constantly defining yourself in opposition to what others say about you is not self-knowledge. It’s confusion.

In this country, the white majority is basically blind to the worst in themselves. They see themselves in the image of their best, and they see us in the image of our worst.

America had begun as a colony and that a colony it remained, that is, a place still defined by its plunder, where enrichment was paramount and civil order always an afterthought.

The tumor had fused to my mother’s spine by the time it was discovered. No amount of surgery or chemotherapy could remove it.

I still remembered the rift that had grown between us during the election, and I didn’t want to go back there again.

America. He found it hard to believe he’d spent so much of his life there. As much as he’d always wanted to be an American, he realized he’d just been playing a role the entire time, and now he was tired of it.