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Native Believer: A Novel
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Ali Eteraz's much-anticipated debut novel is the story of M., a millennial dandy, lapsed believer, aesthete and second-generation immigrant who wants nothing more than to bring children into the world as full-fledged Americans. As M.'s world gradually fragments around him, he spins out into the underbelly of Philadelphia, where he encounters other young men and women grappling with fallout from the War on Terror and vows never again to face the spectre of degradation and humiliation as a second-class citizen. It is darkly comic, provocative and insightful.
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About the Author

Ali Eteraz is based at the San Francisco Writer's Grotto. He is the author of the coming-of-age memoir Children of Dust (HarperCollins) and the surrealist short story collection Falsipedies & Fibsiennes (Guernica). Eteraz's short fiction has appeared in the Chicago Quarterly Review, storySouth, and Crossborder, and his nonfiction has been highlighted by NPR, the New York Times, and the Guardian. Recently, Eteraz received the 3 Quarks Daily Arts & Literature Prize judged by Mohsin Hamid, and served as a consultant to the artist Jenny Holzer on a permanent art installation in Qatar.

Reviews

"Eteraz is a brave writer whose narrative immerses you in a world of fear, doubt, identity crises, and paranoia. He exposes the mind of the American citizen separated from the norm because of who he is, was, or could be. Native Believer is a relevant book and should be read for its fine prose." --Jaggery Lit"Eteraz's novel asks what Muslims must do to themselves in order to be successful in the United States--deny their heritage? Buy into America's war machine? Watch as the Middle East goes up in flames?" --CounterPunch Included in John Madera's list of Most Anticipated Small Press Books of 2016 at Big Other "Ali Eteraz has written a hurricane of a novel. It blows open the secrets and longings of Muslim immigration to the West, sweeping us up in the drama of identity in ways newly raw. This is no poised and prettified tale; buckle in for a uproariously messy and revealing ride." --Lorraine Adams, author of The Room and the Chair "Merciless, intellectually lacerating, and brutally funny, Native Believer is not merely a Gonzo panorama of Muslim America--it's one of the most incisive novels I've ever read on America itself. Eteraz paints our empire with the same erotic longing and black, depraved wit that Nabokov used sixty years ago in Lolita. But whereas Nabokov's work was set in the heyday of America's cheerful upswing, Eteraz sets the country in the new, fractious world order. Here, sex, money, and violence all stake their claims on treacherously shifting identities--and neither love nor god is an escape." --Molly Crabapple, author of Drawing Blood "M is a secular Muslim who is fired from his job for nebulous reasons, which we suspect are related to his heritage. Despite his own belief that he is living in 'post-racial America, ' M is unable to escape from prejudices formed without his participation, in part due to the ongoing war on terror." -- The Guardian "This is a brilliant, unapologetic book...It's also the perfect book for our times. In a just world it would be awarded a place alongside other great civil rights books. However, it will probably just end up being banned and scorned by the self-righteous and the blind; the ones who need to read and understand it the most." --Qantara.de "A kaleidoscopic panorama of 21st century America...Surveying broad swaths of a breathtaking tapestry, across a landscape populated by a colorfully sundry cast, Eteraz manages to tease out the core contradictions of life in contemporary America. The story is set in a vividly rendered Philadelphia, where loyalties are in constant flux, where roots often act as shackles, and the pursuit of the American dream is hampered at every turn by the relentless pull of a past that never ceases to exist." --Wagas Mizra "[A] fiery debut...An incendiary novel." --Asian American Literature Fans "Ali Eteraz has written a novel, both heartbreaking and exultant, about how it feels to get scalded by the great melting pot. He is a writer of tremendous nuance, sensitivity, and insight. An enormous triumph in its own right, Native Believer also points toward an even brighter future for American fiction." --Andrew Ervin, author of Burning Down George Orwell's House "Knife-sharp and ruthlessly funny, Native Believer is the American novel of now. Right now. Eteraz's writing is exciting, beautiful, and jam-packed with intelligent surprise. I saw myself among its infidels and dreamers, its pornographers and heathens, its believers, the lovers, and the lost. I could not put it down." --Scott Cheshire, author of High as the Horses' Bridles Praise for Children of Dust by Ali Eteraz: "A gifted writer and scholar, Eteraz is able to create a true-life Islamic bildungsroman as he effortlessly conveys his coming-of-age tale while educating the reader...His catharsis transcends the page." --Publishers Weekly "The gripping story of a young man exposed to both the beauty and ugliness of religion." --Laila Lalami, author of The Moor's Account "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, author of The Shadow of the Crescent Moon "Eteraz's novel asks what Muslims must do to themselves in order to be successful in the United States--deny their heritage? Buy into America's war machine? Watch as the Middle East goes up in flames?" -- CounterPunch Included in John Madera's list of Most Anticipated Small Press Books of 2016 at Big Other "Ali Eteraz has written a hurricane of a novel. It blows open the secrets and longings of Muslim immigration to the West, sweeping us up in the drama of identity in ways newly raw. This is no poised and prettified tale; buckle in for a uproariously messy and revealing ride." --Lorraine Adams, author of The Room and the Chair "Merciless, intellectually lacerating, and brutally funny, Native Believer is not merely a Gonzo panorama of Muslim America--it's one of the most incisive novels I've ever read on America itself. Eteraz paints our empire with the same erotic longing and black, depraved wit that Nabokov used sixty years ago in Lolita. But whereas Nabokov's work was set in the heyday of America's cheerful upswing, Eteraz sets the country in the new, fractious world order. Here, sex, money, and violence all stake their claims on treacherously shifting identities--and neither love nor god is an escape." --Molly Crabapple, author of Drawing Blood "M is a secular Muslim who is fired from his job for nebulous reasons, which we suspect are related to his heritage. Despite his own belief that he is living in 'post-racial America, ' M is unable to escape from prejudices formed without his participation, in part due to the ongoing war on terror." -- The Guardian "This is a brilliant, unapologetic book...It's also the perfect book for our times. In a just world it would be awarded a place alongside other great civil rights books. However, it will probably just end up being banned and scorned by the self-righteous and the blind; the ones who need to read and understand it the most." --Qantara.de "A kaleidoscopic panorama of 21st century America...Surveying broad swaths of a breathtaking tapestry, across a landscape populated by a colorfully sundry cast, Eteraz manages to tease out the core contradictions of life in contemporary America. The story is set in a vividly rendered Philadelphia, where loyalties are in constant flux, where roots often act as shackles, and the pursuit of the American dream is hampered at every turn by the relentless pull of a past that never ceases to exist." --Wagas Mizra "[A] fiery debut...An incendiary novel." --Asian American Literature Fans "Ali Eteraz has written a novel, both heartbreaking and exultant, about how it feels to get scalded by the great melting pot. He is a writer of tremendous nuance, sensitivity, and insight. An enormous triumph in its own right, Native Believer also points toward an even brighter future for American fiction." --Andrew Ervin, author of Burning Down George Orwell's House "Knife-sharp and ruthlessly funny, Native Believer is the American novel of now. Right now. Eteraz's writing is exciting, beautiful, and jam-packed with intelligent surprise. I saw myself among its infidels and dreamers, its pornographers and heathens, its believers, the lovers, and the lost. I could not put it down." --Scott Cheshire, author of High as the Horses' Bridles Praise for Children of Dust by Ali Eteraz: "A gifted writer and scholar, Eteraz is able to create a true-life Islamic bildungsroman as he effortlessly conveys his coming-of-age tale while educating the reader...His catharsis transcends the page." --Publishers Weekly "The gripping story of a young man exposed to both the beauty and ugliness of religion." --Laila Lalami, author of The Moor's Account "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, author of The Shadow of the Crescent Moon Included in John Madera's list of Most Anticipated Small Press Books of 2016 at Big Other "Ali Eteraz has written a hurricane of a novel. It blows open the secrets and longings of Muslim immigration to the West, sweeping us up in the drama of identity in ways newly raw. This is no poised and prettified tale; buckle in for a uproariously messy and revealing ride." --Lorraine Adams, author of The Room and the Chair "Merciless, intellectually lacerating, and brutally funny, Native Believer is not merely a Gonzo panorama of Muslim America--it's one of the most incisive novels I've ever read on America itself. Eteraz paints our empire with the same erotic longing and black, depraved wit that Nabokov used sixty years ago in Lolita. But whereas Nabokov's work was set in the heyday of America's cheerful upswing, Eteraz sets the country in the new, fractious world order. Here, sex, money, and violence all stake their claims on treacherously shifting identities--and neither love nor god is an escape." --Molly Crabapple, author of Drawing Blood "M is a secular Muslim who is fired from his job for nebulous reasons, which we suspect are related to his heritage. Despite his own belief that he is living in post-racial America, M is unable to escape from prejudices formed without his participation, in part due to the ongoing war on terror." The Guardian "This is a brilliant, unapologetic book...It's also the perfect book for our times. In a just world it would be awarded a place alongside other great civil rights books. However, it will probably just end up being banned and scorned by the self-righteous and the blind; the ones who need to read and understand it the most." --Qantara.de "A kaleidoscopic panorama of 21st century America...Surveying broad swaths of a breathtaking tapestry, across a landscape populated by a colorfully sundry cast, Eteraz manages to tease out the core contradictions of life in contemporary America. The story is set in a vividly rendered Philadelphia, where loyalties are in constant flux, where roots often act as shackles, and the pursuit of the American dream is hampered at every turn by the relentless pull of a past that never ceases to exist." --Wagas Mizra "[A] fiery debut...An incendiary novel." --Asian American Literature Fans "Ali Eteraz has written a novel, both heartbreaking and exultant, about how it feels to get scalded by the great melting pot. He is a writer of tremendous nuance, sensitivity, and insight. An enormous triumph in its own right, Native Believer also points toward an even brighter future for American fiction." --Andrew Ervin, author of Burning Down George Orwell's House "Knife-sharp and ruthlessly funny, Native Believer is the American novel of now. Right now. Eteraz's writing is exciting, beautiful, and jam-packed with intelligent surprise. I saw myself among its infidels and dreamers, its pornographers and heathens, its believers, the lovers, and the lost. I could not put it down." --Scott Cheshire, author of High as the Horses' Bridles Praise for Children of Dust by Ali Eteraz: "A gifted writer and scholar, Eteraz is able to create a true-life Islamic bildungsroman as he effortlessly conveys his coming-of-age tale while educating the reader...His catharsis transcends the page." --Publishers Weekly "The gripping story of a young man exposed to both the beauty and ugliness of religion." --Laila Lalami, author of The Moor's Account "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, author of The Shadow of the Crescent Moon" "M is a secular Muslim who is fired from his job for nebulous reasons, which we suspect are related to his heritage. Despite his own belief that he is living in post-racial America, M is unable to escape from prejudices formed without his participation, in part due to the ongoing war on terror." The Guardian "This is a brilliant, unapologetic book...It's also the perfect book for our times. In a just world it would be awarded a place alongside other great civil rights books. However, it will probably just end up being banned and scorned by the self-righteous and the blind; the ones who need to read and understand it the most." --Qantara.de "A kaleidoscopic panorama of 21st century America...Surveying broad swaths of a breathtaking tapestry, across a landscape populated by a colorfully sundry cast, Eteraz manages to tease out the core contradictions of life in contemporary America. The story is set in a vividly rendered Philadelphia, where loyalties are in constant flux, where roots often act as shackles, and the pursuit of the American dream is hampered at every turn by the relentless pull of a past that never ceases to exist." --Wagas Mizra "[A] fiery debut...An incendiary novel." --Asian American Literature Fans "Ali Eteraz has written a novel, both heartbreaking and exultant, about how it feels to get scalded by the great melting pot. He is a writer of tremendous nuance, sensitivity, and insight. An enormous triumph in its own right, Native Believer also points toward an even brighter future for American fiction." --Andrew Ervin, author of Burning Down George Orwell's House "Knife-sharp and ruthlessly funny, Native Believer is the American novel of now. Right now. Eteraz's writing is exciting, beautiful, and jam-packed with intelligent surprise. I saw myself among its infidels and dreamers, its pornographers and heathens, its believers, the lovers, and the lost. I could not put it down." --Scott Cheshire, author of High as the Horses' Bridles Praise for Children of Dust by Ali Eteraz: "A gifted writer and scholar, Eteraz is able to create a true-life Islamic bildungsroman as he effortlessly conveys his coming-of-age tale while educating the reader...His catharsis transcends the page." --Publishers Weekly "The gripping story of a young man exposed to both the beauty and ugliness of religion." --Laila Lalami, author of The Moor's Account "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, author of The Shadow of the Crescent Moon" "This is a brilliant, unapologetic book...It's also the perfect book for our times. In a just world it would be awarded a place alongside other great civil rights books. However, it will probably just end up being banned and scorned by the self-righteous and the blind; the ones who need to read and understand it the most." --Qantara.de "A kaleidoscopic panorama of 21st century America...Surveying broad swaths of a breathtaking tapestry, across a landscape populated by a colorfully sundry cast, Eteraz manages to tease out the core contradictions of life in contemporary America. The story is set in a vividly rendered Philadelphia, where loyalties are in constant flux, where roots often act as shackles, and the pursuit of the American dream is hampered at every turn by the relentless pull of a past that never ceases to exist." --Wagas Mizra "[A] fiery debut...An incendiary novel." --Asian American Literature Fans "Ali Eteraz has written a novel, both heartbreaking and exultant, about how it feels to get scalded by the great melting pot. He is a writer of tremendous nuance, sensitivity, and insight. An enormous triumph in its own right, Native Believer also points toward an even brighter future for American fiction." --Andrew Ervin, author of Burning Down George Orwell's House "Knife-sharp and ruthlessly funny, Native Believer is the American novel of now. Right now. Eteraz's writing is exciting, beautiful, and jam-packed with intelligent surprise. I saw myself among its infidels and dreamers, its pornographers and heathens, its believers, the lovers, and the lost. I could not put it down." --Scott Cheshire, author of High as the Horses' Bridles Praise for Children of Dust by Ali Eteraz: "A gifted writer and scholar, Eteraz is able to create a true-life Islamic bildungsroman as he effortlessly conveys his coming-of-age tale while educating the reader...His catharsis transcends the page." --Publishers Weekly "The gripping story of a young man exposed to both the beauty and ugliness of religion." --Laila Lalami, author of The Moor's Account "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, author of The Shadow of the Crescent Moon "A kaleidoscopic panorama of 21st century America...Surveying broad swaths of a breathtaking tapestry, across a landscape populated by a colorfully sundry cast, Eteraz manages to tease out the core contradictions of life in contemporary America. The story is set in a vividly rendered Philadelphia, where loyalties are in constant flux, where roots often act as shackles, and the pursuit of the American dream is hampered at every turn by the relentless pull of a past that never ceases to exist." --Wagas Mizra "This is a brilliant, unapologetic book . . . It s also the perfect book for our times. In a just world it would be awarded a place alongside other great civil rights books. However, it will probably just end up being banned and scorned by the self-righteous and the blind; the ones who need to read and understand it the most." --"Qantara.de" Praise for "Children of Dust" by Ali Eteraz: "A gifted writer and scholar, Eteraz is able to create a true-life Islamic bildungsroman as he effortlessly conveys his coming-of-age tale while educating the reader...His catharsis transcends the page." --"Publishers Weekly" "The gripping story of a young man exposed to both the beauty and ugliness of religion." --Laila Lalami, author of "The Moor's Account" "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, author of "The Shadow of the Crescent Moon" " Praise for "Children of Dust" by Ali Eteraz: "A gifted writer and scholar, Eteraz is able to create a true-life Islamic bildungsroman as he effortlessly conveys his coming-of-age tale while educating the reader...His catharsis transcends the page." --"Publishers Weekly" "The gripping story of a young man exposed to both the beauty and ugliness of religion." --Laila Lalami, author of "The Moor's Account" "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, author of "The Shadow of the Crescent Moon"

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