Native Believer: A Novel

Akashic Books
6
Free sample

“[A] wickedly funny Philadelphia picaresque about a secular Muslim’s identity crisis in a country waging a never-ending war on terror.” —O, The Oprah Magazine
 
Ali Eteraz’s much-anticipated debut novel is the story of M., a supportive husband, adventureless dandy, lapsed believer, and second-generation immigrant who wants nothing more than to host parties and bring children into the world as full-fledged Americans. As M.’s life gradually fragments around him—a wife with a chronic illness, a best friend stricken with grief, a boss jeopardizing a respectable career—M. spins out into the pulsating underbelly of Philadelphia, where he encounters others grappling with fallout from the war on terror. Among the pornographers and converts to Islam, punks and wrestlers, M. confronts his existential degradation and the life of a second-class citizen.
 
Darkly comic, provocative, and insightful, Native Believer is a startling vision of the contemporary American experience and the human capacity to shape identity and belonging at all costs.
 
Native Believer stands as an important contribution to American literary culture: a book quite unlike any I’ve read in recent memory, which uses its characters to explore questions vital to our continuing national discourse around Islam.” —The New York Times Book Review
 
“A page-turning contemporary fiction that addresses burning issues about the very essence of identity, and without question Ali Eteraz is a writer’s writer, one whose ear for the English language is just as acute as fellow naturalized Americans Vladimir Nabokov (born in Russia) or Viet Thanh Nguyen (Vietnam).” —Los Angeles Review of Books
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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.
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3.5
6 total
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Additional Information

Publisher
Akashic Books
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Published on
Apr 11, 2016
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Pages
274
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ISBN
9781617754593
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Cultural Heritage
Fiction / Humorous / Black Humor
Fiction / Literary
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Bernice L. McFadden has been named the Go On Girl! Book Club's 2018 Author of the Year

WINNER of the 2017 American Book Award

WINNER of the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work (Fiction)

2017 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award Nominee (Fiction)!

A Washington Post Notable Book of 2016

"McFadden uses the experiences of her own ancestors as loose inspiration for the life of Harlan, whom she portrays from his childhood in Harlem through imprisonment in a Nazi concentration camp and his struggles afterward to put his life back together."
--Library Journal

"Simply miraculous...As her saga becomes ever more spellbinding, so does the reader's astonishment at the magic she creates. This is a story about the triumph of the human spirit over bigotry, intolerance and cruelty, and at the center of The Book of Harlan is the restorative force that is music."
--Washington Post

"McFadden's writing breaks the heart--and then heals it again. The perspective of a black man in a concentration camp is unique and harrowing and this is a riveting, worthwhile read."
--Toronto Star

"The Book of Harlan is an incredible read. Bernice McFadden...has created an amazing novel that speaks to lesser known aspects of the African-American experience and illuminates the human heart and spirit. Her spare prose is rich in details that convey deep emotions and draw the reader in. This fictional narrative of Harlan Elliot's life is firmly grounded amidst real people and places--prime historical fiction, and the best book I have read this year."
--Historical Novels Review, Editors' Choice

"McFadden packs a powerful punch with tight prose and short chapters that bear witness to key events in early twentieth-century history: both World Wars, the Great Depression, and the Great Migration. Partly set in the Jim Crow South, the novel succeeds in showing the prevalence of racism all across the country--whether implemented through institutionalized mechanisms or otherwise. Playing with themes of divine justice and the suffering of the righteous, McFadden presents a remarkably crisp portrait of one average man's extraordinary bravery in the face of pure evil."
--Booklist, Starred review

"Through this character portrait of Harlan, McFadden has constructed a vivid, compelling narrative that makes historical fiction an accessible, literary window into the African-American past and some of the contemporary dilemmas of the present."
--Publishers Weekly

"McFadden's impressive achievement offers us a window into the often very difficult lives of African Americans from the Jim Crow era up to the present--and, unexpectedly, in wartime Germany. Highly recommended for showing us that however badly black citizens have historically been treated, black lives matter."
--Library Journal

The Book of Harlan opens with the courtship of Harlan's parents and his 1917 birth in Macon, Georgia. After his prominent minister grandfather dies, Harlan and his parents move to Harlem, where he eventually becomes a professional musician. When Harlan and his best friend, trumpeter Lizard Robbins, are invited to perform at a popular cabaret in the Parisian enclave of Montmartre--affectionately referred to as "The Harlem of Paris" by black American musicians--Harlan jumps at the opportunity, convincing Lizard to join him.

But after the City of Light falls under Nazi occupation, Harlan and Lizard are thrown into Buchenwald--the notorious concentration camp in Weimar, Germany--irreparably changing the course of Harlan's life. Based on exhaustive research and told in McFadden's mesmeric prose, The Book of Harlan skillfully blends the stories of McFadden's familial ancestors with those of real and imagined characters.

Art was my dearest friend.
To draw was trouble and safety, adventure and freedom.
In that four-cornered kingdom of paper, I lived as I pleased.
This is the story of a girl and her sketchbook.

In language that is fresh, visceral, and deeply moving—and illustrations that are irreverent and gorgeous—here is a memoir that will change the way you think about art, sex, politics, and survival in our times.

From a young age, Molly Crabapple had the eye of an artist and the spirit of a radical. After a restless childhood on New York's Long Island, she left America to see Europe and the Near East, a young artist plunging into unfamiliar cultures, notebook always in hand, drawing what she observed.

Returning to New York City after 9/11 to study art, she posed nude for sketch artists and sketchy photographers, danced burlesque, and modeled for the world famous Suicide Girls. Frustrated with the academy and the conventional art world, she eventually landed a post as house artist at Simon Hammerstein's legendary nightclub The Box, the epicenter of decadent Manhattan nightlife before the financial crisis of 2008. There she had a ringside seat for the pitched battle between the bankers of Wall Street and the entertainers who walked among them—a scandalous, drug-fueled circus of mutual exploitation that she captured in her tart and knowing illustrations. Then, after the crash, a wave of protest movements—from student demonstrations in London to Occupy Wall Street in her own backyard—led Molly to turn her talents to a new form of witness journalism, reporting from places such as Guantanamo, Syria, Rikers Island, and the labor camps of Abu Dhabi. Using both words and artwork to shed light on the darker corners of American empire, she has swiftly become one of the most original and galvanizing voices on the cultural stage.

Now, with the same blend of honesty, fierce insight, and indelible imagery that is her signature, Molly offers her own story: an unforgettable memoir of artistic exploration, political awakening, and personal transformation.

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