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Homeland Elegies


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About the Author

Ayad Akhtar is a playwright, novelist, the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is the author of American Dervish (Little, Brown & Co.), published in more than twenty languages and named a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2012. As a playwright, he has written Junk (Lincoln Center, Broadway; Kennedy Prize for American Drama, Tony nomination); Disgraced (Lincoln Center, Broadway; Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Tony nomination); The Who & The What (Lincoln Center); and The Invisible Hand (NYTW; Obie Award, Outer Critics Circle John Gassner Award, Olivier, and Evening Standard nominations). As a screenwriter, he was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay for The War Within.Among other honors, Akhtar is the recipient the Steinberg Playwrighting Award, the Nestroy Award, the Erwin Piscator Award, as well as fellowships from the American Academy in Rome, MacDowell, the Sundance Institute, and Yaddo, where he serves as a Board Director. Additionally, Ayad is a Board Trustee at PEN/America, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and New York Theatre Workshop.


Homeland Elegies is the astonishing work of an absolutely brilliant writer. With exquisite prose and lacerating honesty, Ayad Akhtar reveals the intersections of art, finance, race, religion, academia, and empire, and in the process, shows us a troubled reflection of our country in the twenty-first century.--Phil Klay, author of Redeployment
Homeland Elegies is urgent, lacerating writing of the first order from one of our finest playwrights. A sensation of a book.--Suketu Mehta, author of This Land Is Our Land: An Immigrant's Manifesto
A family drama that spans the globe and asks big, unsettling questions about identity, patriotism, and the quest to belong.--Town & Country
A triumph. Akhtar rages, he sings, he indicts, he falls in love, he sorrows, he dreams, he mourns, he transcribes!-and finally, he transmutes injustice into the sublimest art.--Joshua Ferris, author of The Dinner Party
An unflinchingly honest self-portrait by a brilliant Muslim-American writer, and, beyond that, an unsparing examination of both sides of that fraught hyphenated reality. Passionate, disturbing, unputdownable.--Salman Rushdie, author of Quichotte
At the core of this flashing, kinetic coil of a story -- part 1001 Nights, part Reality TV -- is a passionate, wrenching portrayal of Americans exiled into 'otherness'.--Jennifer Egan, author of Manhattan Beach and A Visit From the Goon Squad
Ayad Akhtar offers up his heart and life with an honesty that astonishes. Never have I experienced such a reading thrill. I put down this novel trembling at the courage it took to write it, and determined to be a better American for having read it.--Maria Semple, author of Where'd You Go, Bernadette
With Homeland Elegies, Ayad Akhtar has found the perfect hybrid form for his exuberant, insightful, and wickedly entertaining epic about Muslim immigrants and their American-born children. A deeply moving father-and-son story unfolds against tumultuous current events in a book that anyone wanting to know how we as a nation got where we are today -- and into what dark wood we might be heading tomorrow -- should read.--Sigrid Nunez, author of The Friend

"Dazzling . . . a deeply personal examination of the American dream."

--Entertainment Weekly
"[A] moving and confrontational novel . . . Homeland Elegies deals in ambiguities that were beyond the pale of public discourse in the years after 9/11. . . . He has an unerring sense for the sore spots, the bitter truths that have emerged from this history."--Hari Kunzru, New York Times Book Review
"A beautiful novel about an American son and his immigrant father that has echoes of The Great Gatsby and that circles, with pointed intellect, the possibilities and limitations of American life.... Homeland Elegies is a very American novel. It's a lover's quarrel with this country, and . . . it has candor and seriousness to burn."--Dwight Garner, New York Times
"A searing work . . . profound and provocative."--Kirkus Reviews
"Achingly intimate . . . The personal is political in this beautiful, intense elegy for an America that often goes awry while still offering hope."--Library Journal
"Akhtar confronts issues of race, money, family, politics, and sexuality in a bold, memoiristic tale . . . with an array of fascinating characters with different insights into the American character"--Booklist
"Akhtar deftly weaves politics, family, friendship, capitalism, work and the eternal existential crisis of being American into a tapestry of form that includes essay, lyric passages and dialogue in its pattern (which, like America, is somewhat chaotic). . . . 'Ever the artist, ' Akhtar writes, 'I trusted the mess.' And thank goodness he did."--Sarah Neilson, San Francisco Chronicle
"An immigrant saga unlike any other . . . singular in its richness, inventiveness, and braininess and the fiery candor with which Akhtar chars nearly every sentence. . . . For me, this is the book of the year."--Junot Diaz, O Magazine
"Gripping ... [a] fine and deeply moving piece of writing."--Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune
"Incisive and masterful."--Rafia Zakaria, Boston Globe
"Masterful.... A symphony about America.... [Akhtar's] intellectual explorations of identity and self-presentation are coupled with deep emotional urgency.... With its insight and honesty, Homeland Elegies deserves to be read widely."--USA Today
"Monumental . . . a globe-trotting tragicomedy."--Elle.com
"Outstanding.... [A] courageous and timely novel, deftly interweaving fact and fiction, memoir and history.... It's hard to convey the breadth and brilliance of this work."--The Guardian
"Scintillating ... Akhtar is an intrepid narrator."--Anjali Enjeti, Minneapolis Star-Tribune
"This tragicomedy is a revelation."--Publishers Weekly
"Tour de force . . . a poetic confession of the agony of trying to articulate a nuanced critique of faith and politics in an age of shrieking partisanship."--Ron Charles, Washington Post
"An urgent, intimate hybrid of memoir and fiction, Homeland Elegies lays bare the broken heart of our American dream turned reality TV nightmare. The book...brilliantly captures how we got to this exact moment in time and at what cost. Stunning."--A. M. Homes, author of This Book Will Save Your Life and Days of Awe
"Homeland Elegies is a beautifully written and unflinching meditation on the American "Dream," in a moment of Islamophobia, economic crisis, and the unmasking of national rot the Trump years have given us. Playful, daring, unapologetically smart, rejecting the constricting frames within which Muslim-American writing and art are often presented, the novel exposes debt peonage and racial othering as fundaments of our national condition with ruthless clarity."--Sadia Abbas, author of At Freedom's Limit and The Empty Room
"A novel as brave as it is brilliant, as exciting as it is disturbing. This book captures our American moment with a power and depth that left me thrilled and shaken. One of our greatest playwrights establishes himself as a great novelist."--Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director of The Public Theater

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