Huffpost Books

Book Club: American Dervish

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Little, Brown

Welcome to the discussion page for American Dervish. Scroll down to meet the editors you'll be hearing from, and watch our video discussions, read blogs, and discuss the book with other readers.

As we read, leave your thoughts and comments below. View our how-to here, if you need a refresher on the book club

Zoë Triska, Associate Editor. I was a Literature major so I can't help analyzing every single thing. I admit that I'm one of those people who Googles phrases, places, names every couple of pages when I'm reading. There are constantly things that stump me, though so I'd love to hear your thoughts on the significance of words, places, events that take place in the book.

Andrew Losowsky, Books Editor. I'm British, so anything you think I've spelled wrong, is actually just spelled older. I look for stories to take my brain into new spaces, and I'll be particularly discussing the facts as we think we know them, and the clues I think we're being given by the story.

Madeleine Crum, Associate Editor. I like looking at language particularities, but in case you think that's a snooze (you wouldn't be alone), I'm also interested in reading what critics say about books and whether their reviews are spot on or way off.

Annemarie Dooling, Senior Community Editor. Locations and descriptions speak to me the same way characters do. I love dissecting story details. If you read the same books over and over again the same way you visit an out-of-town friend, we're going to get along just fine.

Here's our reading schedule:
November 21: Through Book 2 - Nathan
November 28: Through Chapter 9 - The Hypocrites
December 5: Through Chapter 11 - The Turn
December 1213: Through Chapter 15 - The Farewell Begins
December 19: Through the end of the book

You can find past discussions on this page.

live blog

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On Wednesday we will finish up the book with a conversation with author Ayad Akhtar. We've been saving your best thoughts and questions below and plan to ask him on 4:30pm when we have our Google Hangout.

If you have any more questions that you'd love to hear answered through the author's point of view, leave a comment below, or email and tell us.

We'll see you right here on Wednesday!

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At 4pm on Thursday, December 13th we'll be discussing fundamentalism vs. spirituality and the timelines of Mina and Hayat. We'll have a few community members on and if you'd like to join, look here at 4pm for the link to join us.

Join here:

You don't need video, you can join the chat box in the hangout instead. We'll see you at 4pm!

See our latest discussion about religion, the portrayal of Islam in the book, and the ending, featuring guest community members Masood, and (in a chat box on the side of our hangout) Kyle.

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@ ayadakhtar : Interview about writing, acting & American Dervish at Author Magazine -

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@ Between_Covers : 80% done with American Dervish, by Ayad Akhtar: #hpbookclub

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Last week one of our community members, Gary, brought up a fantastic point. Nearly every character in American Dervish has an amazingly strong reaction to religion of any type. We've been reviewing their devotion as if they were simply followers of their respective religions, but are they more? Hayat, in particular, is nearly obsessed with the idea of becoming a hafiz.

So what do you think? Do our characters represent the far end of the religious spectrum, or are they just an accurate portrayal of the truly devoted?

Join us here on THURSDAY, December 13th for our Google Hangout when we explore this with several community members. Leave your thoughts below or hop in the video chat tomorrow.

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You'll find our Google video hangout right in this entry at 4pm Wednesday

You do not need video to participate, but are welcome to join via video. When entering, click the chat room at the far end of the Hangout and talk with us via chat.

If you missed the live chat, you can watch it here anyway and leave your comments at the bottom of the page for discussion in the next Wednesday newsletter and chat.

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@ spfriedman : @HuffPostBooks has a book club!! Wow so fun #hpbookclub

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Many readers feel close to Hayat and have voiced their own stories of confusion in their religious and cultural identities growing up. Most of those readers also shared either a mixed background or came from a family that emigrated.

Do you share these opinions? Leave your personal story below.

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@ Moses9i6 : Come check us out via livestream and share your comments at: @HuffPostBooks

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@ fatamo : The #HPBookClub picks always happily coincide with my trips to Dubai, so I can replenish my overfull collection.

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Sorry for the delay, folks. We had a slight team emergency. We'll be right here on Thursday at 4pm discussing pages 74 through 150 of American Dervish.

We'd love to hear about how your family has effected your religion. Leave a comment below and check here for the link to join the hangout.

You don't need video capabilities to join. There is a text chat inside, and we pull comments from below throughout the chat, so leave your thoughts below as well.

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@ bonnielieb : Just started American Dervish with the #hpbookclub and cannot put it down.

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Hafiz (Arabic: حافظ‎, ḥāfiẓ, pl. huffāẓ, f. ḥāfiẓa), literally meaning "guardian," is a term used by modern Muslims for someone who has completely memorized the Quran.

Mawlawi (also spelled: Maulvi, Moulvi, and Mawlvi; Arabic: مولوی) is an honorific Islamic religious title given to Sunni Muslimreligious scholars or Ulema preceding their names, similar to the titles Maulana, Mullah, or Shaykh. Mawlawi generally means highly-qualified Islamic scholar.

Ijtihad (Arabic: اجتهاد‎, ʼijtihād) is the making of a decision in Islamic law (sharia) by personal effort (jihad), independently of any school (madhhab) of jurisprudence (fiqh).[1] as opposed to taqlid, following the decisions of a religious expert without necessarily examining the scriptural basis or reasoning of that decision. Mina \m(i)-na\ as a girl's name is pronounced MEE-nah. It is of German origin, and the meaning of Mina is "love". Name endings (-mina and -mena) used as independent names. Min and Meena are Irish Gaelic names meaning "smooth, fine, small".


During the time of this story... The Iran hostage crisis (Persian: تسخیر لانهٔ جاسوسی‎ Teskhar lanh jasewsa‎, "Seizure of the Den of Spies") was a diplomatic crisis between Iran and the United States in which 52 Americans were held hostage for 444 days from November 4, 1979, to January 20, 1981, after a group of Islamist students and militants took over the American Embassy in Tehran in support of the Iranian Revolution.[1] President Carter called the hostages "victims of terrorism and anarchy", adding that the "United States will not yield to blackmail"


Finally, here's an interview with Ayad Akhtar on religion and America.

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Join us here at 4pm to talk about "American Dervish" Whether you have video capabilities or not on your computer or device, you can join the hangout and use the chat window.

To join click here. All are welcome.

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@ ayadakhtar : "American Dervish" is @HuffPostBooks next #HPBookClub pick!”

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The HuffPost Book Club will be reading American Dervish starting on November 21st when we'll discuss the first part of the book.

See above for our reading schedule and we can't wait to talk about this book with you!

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Around the Web

American Dervish: A Novel: Ayad Akhtar: 9780316183307: Amazon ...

'American Dervish' — By Ayad Akhtar — Review -

American Dervish by Ayad Akhtar - Reviews, Discussion, Bookclubs ...

Ayad Akhtar's “American Dervish,” Review : The New Yorker

Filed by Annemarie Dooling