Book Announcement: The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf: A Novel (Mohja Kahf)
” A sensitive, passionate and occasionally lyrical book.”—Dr. A Yemisi Jimoh—Dr. A Yemisi Jimoh
“A refreshingly human look at growing up Muslim in America…. clean American prose that shows brilliance.”—Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore—Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore
“Mohja Kahf is a clear-eyed, nervy, and passionate writer…. This is a bright, vivid, and important book.”—Molly Giles—Molly Giles
Syrian immigrant Khadra Shamy is growing up in a devout, tightly knit Muslim family in 1970s Indiana, at the crossroads of bad polyester and Islamic dress codes. Along with her brother Eyad and her African-American friends, Hakim and Hanifa, she bikes the Indianapolis streets exploring the fault-lines between “Muslim” and “American.”
When her picture-perfect marriage goes sour, Khadra flees to Syria and learns how to pray again. On returning to America she works in an eastern state—taking care to stay away from Indiana, where the murder of her friend Tayiba’s sister by Klan violence years before still haunts her. But when her job sends her to cover a national Islamic conference in Indianapolis, she’s back on familiar ground finding herself attending a concert by her brother’s interfaith band The Clash of Civilizations, dodging questions from the “aunties” and “uncles,” and running into the recently divorced Hakim everywhere.
Beautifully written and featuring an exuberant cast of characters, The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf charts the spiritual and social landscape of Muslims in middle America, from five daily prayers to the Indy 500 car race. It is a riveting debut from an important new voice.
About the Author
Mohja Kahf was born in Damascus, Syria, and came to the U.S. as a child. An associate professor of comparative literature at the University of Arkansas, she is the author of Western Representations of the Muslim Woman: From Termagant to Odalisque, and winner of an Arkansas Arts Council award. Her first book of poetry, E-mails from Scheherazad, was a finalist in the 2004 Paterson Poetry Prize.