A stirring and explosive debut novel about an American Muslim family's struggle with faith and belonging.
Hayat Shah was captivated by Mina long before he met her: his mother's beautiful, brilliant friend is a family legend. When he learns that Mina is leaving Pakistan to live with the Shahs in America, Hayat is thrilled.
Hayat's father is less enthusiastic. Ever wary of fundamentalism, he doesn't relish the idea of Mina's fervid devotion under his roof. What no one expects is that when Mina shows Hayat the beauty of the Quran, it will utterly transform him.
Mina's real magic may be that the Shah household becomes a happy one. But when Mina catches the eye of a Jewish doctor and family friend, Hayat's jealousy is inflamed by the community's anti-Semitism - and he acts with catastrophic consequences for those he loves most.
Ayad Akhtar was born in New York City and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. An award-winning author, playwright, screenwriter, and actor, he is the author of a novel, American Dervish, published in over twenty languages worldwide, and was nominated for a 2006 Independent Spirit Award for best screenplay for the film The War Within. His plays include Disgraced, produced at New York's Lincoln Center Theater in 2012 and on Broadway in 2014 and recipient of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama; The Who & The What, produced at Lincoln Center Theater in 2014; and The Invisible Hand, produced at New York Theater Workshop in 2014. He has been the recipient of fellowships from MacDowell and Yaddo, as well as commissions from Lincoln Center Theater and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. He is a graduate of Brown and Columbia Universities with degrees in Theater and Film Directing. He lives in New York City.