cover image Stranger to History: A Son’s Journey Through Islamic Lands

Stranger to History: A Son’s Journey Through Islamic Lands

Aatish Taseer. Graywolf, $16 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-1-55597-628-6

Compelled to “face and record a suppressed personal history,” Taseer, a former Time magazine reporter and author of two novels (The Temple-Goers and Noon) seeks to put the pieces of his ethnic and spiritual identity together by understanding the bond of his Sikh mother and Pakistani Muslim father and the overarching call of his Islamic faith. Selected portions of his memoir were used to defend the killer of his estranged father, the acting governor of Punjab, for protecting Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman accused of blasphemy for drinking, which transformed the murder trial into a litmus test of his father’s tolerant faith. Taseer launches into a fact-finding quest to uncover his ancestral roots, the holy core of his religion, and what it means to be a Muslim in this century, including dialogues with young radicalized extremists, intellectuals, gays, and traditionalists, stopping in London, Istanbul, Damascus, and Pakistan. The author’s awe of sacred Mecca and prickly spiritual questions about his faith form the spine of this book, along with the political and religious contradictions of Pakistan and the tragic untimely death of Benazir Bhutto. (Nov.)