Stranger to History
A Son's Journey through Islamic Lands
By Aatish Taseer
(Graywolf Press, Paperback, 9781555976286, 352pp.)
Publication Date: November 13, 2012
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“Indispensable reading for anyone who wants a wider understanding of the Islamic world, of its history and its politics.” —Financial Times
Aatish Taseer’s fractured upbringing left him with many questions about his own identity. Raised by his Sikh mother in Delhi, his father, a Pakistani Muslim, remained a distant figure. Stranger to History is the story of the journey he made to try to understand what it means to be Muslim in the twenty-firstcentury. Starting from Istanbul, Islam’s once greatest city, he travels to Mecca, its most holy, and then home through Iran and Pakistan. Ending in Lahore, at his estranged father’s home, on the night Benazir Bhutto was killed, it is also the story of Taseer’s divided family over the past fifty years. Recent events have added a coda to Stranger to History, as his father was murdered by a political assassin. A new introduction by the author reflects on how this event changes the impact of the book, and why its message is more relevant than ever.
Aatish Taseer is the author of two novels, The Temple-Goers and Noon, and a translation. He has worked as a reporter for Time magazine, and has written for The Sunday Times, the Financial Times, and Esquire. His work has been translated into more than a dozen languages, and he lives in London and Delhi.
“A subtle and poignant work by a young writer to watch.” —V.S. Naipaul
“This is a work that ought to be read by policy-makers in Whitehall and Washington as well as in Islamic countries—for its insights into the thinking of angry young Muslim men.” —The Spectator