Synopses & Reviews
“Indispensable reading for anyone who wants a wider understanding of the Islamic world, of its history and its politics.” —Financial Times
Aatish Taseers fractured upbringing left him with many questions about his own identity. Raised by his Sikh mother in Delhi, his father, a Pakistani Muslim, remained a distant figure. Stranger to History is the story of the journey he made to try to understand what it means to be Muslim in the twenty-firstcentury. Starting from Istanbul, Islams once greatest city, he travels to Mecca, its most holy, and then home through Iran and Pakistan. Ending in Lahore, at his estranged fathers home, on the night Benazir Bhutto was killed, it is also the story of Taseers divided family over the past fifty years. Recent events have added a coda to Stranger to History, as his father was murdered by a political assassin. A new introduction by the author reflects on how this event changes the impact of the book, and why its message is more relevant than ever.
"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." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“A subtle and poignant work by a young writer to watch.” —V.S. Naipaul
“This is a work that ought to be read by policy-makers in Whitehall and Washington as well as in Islamic countries—for its insights into the thinking of angry young Muslim men.” —The Spectator
About the Author
Aatish Taseer is the author of two novels, The Temple-Goers and Noon, and a translation. He has worked as a reporter for Time magazine, and has written for The Sunday Times, the Financial Times, and Esquire. His work has been translated into more than a dozen languages, and he lives in London and Delhi.