Salaam, Love: American Muslim Men on Love, Sex, and Intimacy

Edited by Ayesha Mattu and Nura Maznavi. Beacon, $16 trade paper (240p) ISBN 978-0-8070-7975-1

This anthology of personal essays by American Muslim men about their romantic lives, compiled by the editors of a similar anthology focused on Muslim women, is simultaneously lighthearted entertainment and an important addition to public discourse around the place of Islam in America. There is some variation in quality among the essays, as with many anthologies, but with topics ranging from the comedic to the tragic, there is something for everyone. Indeed, the entire collection seeks to offer as much variety as possible, with stories reflecting a broad range of sexuality, ethnicity, religiosity, and romantic success. In this way, it pushes back against common cultural stereotypes of both Muslims and men, showing Muslims with a full range of ordinary American life experiences and showing men with tender and heartfelt emotions that they articulate beautifully. For insiders to the community, this work will prompt joyful recognition as well as thoughtful exploration of different experiences; for outsiders, it will counter one-dimensional negative images about American Muslims. For everyone it will be an insightful, thoroughly charming read. (Feb. 4)