Synopses & Reviews
The extraordinary story of an all-American girl's conversion to Islam and her ensuing romance with a young Egyptian man, The Butterfly Mosque
is a stunning articulation of a Westerner embracing the Muslim world.
When G. Willow Wilson — already an accomplished writer on modern religion and the Middle East at just twenty-seven — leaves her atheist parents in Denver to study at Boston University, she enrolls in an Islamic Studies course that leads to her shocking conversion to Islam and sends her on a fated journey across continents and into an uncertain future.
She settles in Cairo, where she teaches English and submerges herself in a culture based on her adopted religion. And then she meets Omar, a passionate young man with a mild resentment of the Western influences in his homeland. They fall in love, entering into a daring relationship that calls into question the very nature of family, belief, and tradition. Torn between the secular West and Muslim East, Willow records her intensely personal struggle to forge a "third culture" that might accommodate her own values without compromising the friends and family on both sides of the divide.
"Wilson's illuminating memoir offers keen insights into Islamic culture....An eye-opening look at a misunderstood and often polarizing faith, Wilson's memoir is bound to spark discussion." Booklist (starred review)
"[An] honest and uplifting memoir...[that] embraces — not demonizes — both Muslims and the West as critical foundations for [Wilson's] spiritual journey." The Huffington Post
"A gorgeously written memoir about what it means to be human in a fractured world, told with warmth and wit to spare. The Butterfly Mosque is a book that will stay with you for years." Reza Aslan, author of No god but God and How to Win a Cosmic War
"Moments of clarity and humor thread through this uplifting story of one young American seeking integrity in a fractured world. A first-rate memoir and love story that is a delight to read." Library Journal
"Enlightening cultural description and analysis blends somewhat awkwardly with self-regard." Kirkus Reviews
"In The Butterfly Mosque
, G. Willow Wilson combines the stories of her conversion to Islam and her marriage to an Egyptian Muslim with a case for the co-existence of Islam and the West in herself -- and by extension in the world. But what the reader takes away from the book, besides an appreciation for Wilson's limning of Cairene life, is not the feeling that Islam and the West (or more generally, religion and old-fashioned liberalism) should never have been at odds. Rather, if there is a theological revelation, it's the approach Wilson models as a literary critic: she's a better one, capable of reading ironically, than fundamentalists of any stripe." Scott F. Parker, Rain Taxi
(Read the entire Rain Taxi review
Rights have been sold in ten countries.
Wilson's graphic novel, Cairo, was named a Best Graphic Novel of 2007 by Publishers Weekly, the Edmonton Journal/CanWest News, and Comics Worth Reading.
Wilson is also the author of two comics series: Air, which was nominated for the 2009 Eisner Award for Best New Series; and Vixen, winner of the 2009 Glyph Comics Fan Award for Best Comic; she is the first Muslim writer to be recognized for either award
The extraordinary story of an all-American girl's conversion to Islam and her ensuing romance with a young Egyptian man, The Butterfly Mosque is a stunning articulation of a Westerner embracing the Muslim world.
About the Author
Willow Wilson was born in New Jersey in 1982. After graduating with a degree in History and coursework in Arabic language and literature, Willow moved to Cairo, where she became contributor to the Egyptian opposition weekly Cairo Magazine
until it closed in 2005. She is a convert to Islam and her commentary often addresses Islamic and interfaith issues. An avid supporter of new and alternative media, Willow has also written for politics and culture blogs from across the political spectrum.