September 2020 Indie Next List
“A masterful blend of memoir and fiction, this is an unforgettable journey through the lives of a Muslim family finding their place in a post-9/11 America. A searing navigation of the loves we try to reconcile — familial, religious, societal — and the definition of home. Written with wisdom, wit, and unsparing honesty, this an important book that you will continue to contemplate for a very long time. Both intimate and epic, this is a must-read.”
— Pam Stirling, East Bay Booksellers, Oakland, CA
"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."
, Washington Post
"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."
, O Magazine
"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."
, New York Times
"Dazzling . . . a deeply personal examination of the American dream."
"[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."
, New York Times Book Review
"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."
"Incisive and masterful."
, Boston Globe
"Gripping ... [a] fine and deeply moving piece of writing."
, Chicago Tribune
"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."
, San Francisco Chronicle
"Scintillating ... Akhtar is an intrepid narrator."
, Minneapolis Star-Tribune
"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."
"Monumental . . . a globe-trotting tragicomedy."
"A family drama that spans the globe and asks big, unsettling questions about identity, patriotism, and the quest to belong."
—Town & Country
"This tragicomedy is a revelation."
"A searing work . . . profound and provocative."
“Achingly intimate . . . The personal is political in this beautiful, intense elegy for an America that often goes awry while still offering hope.”
“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”
"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
"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
"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
"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
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
"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
"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
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 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
"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