American Dervish has been selected for the 2013 Summer Reading Program.
Hayat Shah is a young Pakistani-American who wrestles with his religious identity, tumultuous feelings for his mother's friend, Mina, that he can't explain, and his own sense of himself in Ayad Akhtar's American Dervish. In many ways, the story is as much Mina's and her mystical embrace of Islam as it is a coming of age story of Hayat. Hayat's wish to earn Mina's respect as a young hafiz, someone who has memorized the entire Quran, gradually comes into conflict with his infatuation for her with terrible and unforeseen consequences. In the end, however, Hayat slowly arrives at an understanding of not only his father's wholesale rejection of Islam but also of Mina's mystical fervor and its demands. He seeks and finds a balance between his cultural identity, his sense of his own family, and his personal values.
American Dervish will be provided to all incoming freshmen at Appalachian, and Ayad Akhtar will speak to members of the campus community and others during Convocation in the Holmes Center on campus, September 10. Akhtar also will participate in other discussions on campus and in the community, on September 11.
Since 1997, incoming freshmen at ASU have been asked to read a book as part of their orientation to Appalachian. By participating in the Summer Reading Program, students establish a common experience with other new students that will help develop a sense of community with their new environment and introduce them to a part of the academic life they are beginning at Appalachian. This program is an exciting facet in Appalachian's orientation of new students to life on our campus.
Dr. Colin T. Ramsey
Associate Professor of English
Sanford Hall 104-B
Summer Reading Program is a unit within Appalachian's University College. University College consists of the university's integrated general education curriculum, academic support services, residential learning communities, interdisciplinary degree programs and co-curricular programming – all designed to support the work of students both inside and outside of the classroom.