My rating for Native Believer— 4
Buy Native Believer from Amazon.com*
Native Believer by Ali Eteraz is a dark satire and social commentary from a different perspective, that of an American who is also a secular Muslim. Our narrator, “M” is the son of immigrants, married to a white Christian woman. M lives in Philadelphia, happy and content with his life and his job at an advertising agency.
M’s life turns upside-down when he has a party for his co-workers (always a bad idea) and his boss finds a Koran in a pouch, a gift from M’s mother. M didn’t even know the book was up there (he’s too short) and assumed the shelf was empty, and anyway, the handmade pouch had value, not the book. That doesn’t matter though, and M finds himself jobless.
For the rest of the book, M tries to find out what it means to a Muslim, devout or secular, in America. He moves around the diverse Muslim population in Philadelphia, from Muslim pornography to creating a marketing campaign for a rich Arab trying to bring Islam to the United States via exercise tapes, and becoming part of the State Department’s Muslim Outreach program (the pay is good and you get to travel).
Mr. Eteraz wrote an interesting and witty novel which is unpredictable and informative. While reading, I found myself wondering how much of the novel is actually true about the secular Muslim culture in America.
Zohar — Man of la Book
Disclaimer: I got this book for free
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