Children of Dust
A Memoir of Pakistan
Other Editions of This Title:
December 2009 Indie Next List
— Tamara Maxey, Windows on the World-Books & Art, Mariposa, CA
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“In this supremely assured, lush, and rip-roaring book, Eteraz manages to do the impossible, gliding confidently over the chasm that divides East and West. Wildly entertaining…memoir of the first order.” —Murad Kalam, author of Night Journey
Ali Eteraz’s award-winning memoir reveals the searing spiritual story of growing up in Pakistan under the specter of militant Islamic fundamentalism and then overcoming the culture shock of emigrating to the United States. A gripping memoir evocative of Persepolis, Reading Lolita in Tehran, and the novel The Kite Runner, Eteraz’s narrative is also a cathartic chronicle of spiritual awakening. Yael Goldstein Love, author of Overture, calls Children of Dust “a gift and a necessity [that] should be read by believers and nonbelievers alike.”
Praise For Children of Dust: A Memoir of Pakistan…
— O, The Oprah Magazine
Wildly entertaining, Children of Dust is memoir of the first order, as genuinely American as Muslim, unraveling the perilous mystery that is modern Pakistan as only memoir can. Unlike others, Eteraz has truly ‘been there,’ and we are all the better for it.
— Murad Kalam, author of Night Journey
The gripping story of a young man exposed to both the beauty and ugliness of religion.
— Laila Lalami, author of Secret Son
A love letter to one man’s fading faith, Children of Dust is a gift and a necessity, and should be read by believers and nonbelievers alike. Sure to deepen our collective conversation about religion and reason, loyalty and universality, and our geopolitical aims, it’s also just plain fun to read.
— Yael Goldstein Love, author of Overture: A Novel and The Passion of Tasha Darsky
“In Children of Dust . . . we follow the journey of a soul determined to reconcile the many worlds that live inside him. In a time rife with cultural misinterpretations and generalizations, sensitive accounts such as Children of Dust are invaluable assets.”
— Laleh Khadivi, novelist, author of The Age of Orphans
An astoundingly frightening, funny, and brave book. At a time when debate and reform in the larger landscape of the Muslim world, and in countries like Pakistan in particular, are virtually non-existent, Children of Dust is a call to thought.
— Fatima Bhutto, poet and writer
This elegantly written memoir traces [Eteraz’s] relationship with the religion of his birth, from his childhood in Pakistan, where he feared beatings at the madrassa, to adulthood in the U.S. . . . Thoughtful and wry, he offers glimpses of a changing Pakistan and a U.S. immigrant’s journey, too.
“A gifted writer and scholar, Eteraz is able to create a true-life Islamic bildungsroman as he effortlessly conveys his comingof- age tale while educating the reader. When his religious awakening finally occurs, his catharsis transcends the page.”
— Publishers Weekly
“A …complex story of a young man’s journey into the heart of his own faith.… Knowledgeable, humorous and personable, Eteraz is an engaging storyteller.”
— San Jose Mercury News
— Washington Post
“Eteraz’s memoir is a fascinating, elucidating account of Muslim mores and education. In these times when fears of Islam are high, it is well worth reading.”
— The Providence Journal
“Children of Dust is a coming of age story, filled with warmth and humour, but it also explores some very serious questions… a powerful and marvellous personal memoir.”
“...Not only for people who are interested in Pakistan or Islamic issues, but for anyone looking for a compelling personal story. Because ultimately, this memoir isn’t about religion but about a fascinating quest for selffulfillment.”
“Written with vivid descriptions, a smattering of urdu words and a very strong sense of nationalism... Children of Dust is an apt description of a thinking muslim.”
“Ali’s story is long and heart-rending, sometimes funny, sometimes frustrating, and his willingness to share it makes us all better off in the telling and re-telling as we reflect on our covenants and baggage.”
— Pakistaniaat: A Journal of Pakistan Studies
HarperOne, 9780061567087, 352pp.
Publication Date: October 13, 2009
About the Author
Ali Eteraz was born in Pakistan and has lived in the Middle East, the Caribbean, and the United States. A graduate of Emory University and Temple Law School, he was selected for the Outstanding Scholar's Program at the United States Department of Justice and later worked in corporate litigation in Manhattan. He has published articles in Dissent, Foreign Policy, AlterNet, and altMuslim; and is a regular contributor to The Guardian UK.