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Publisher's Summary

From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Disgraced and American Dervish: An immigrant father and his son search for belonging - in post-Trump America, and with each other.

"Passionate, disturbing, unputdownable." (Salman Rushdie)

A deeply personal work about identity and belonging in a nation coming apart at the seams, Homeland Elegies blends fact and fiction to tell an epic story of longing and dispossession in the world that 9/11 made. Part family drama, part social essay, part picaresque novel, at its heart it is the story of a father, a son, and the country they both call home.

Ayad Akhtar forges a new narrative voice to capture a country in which debt has ruined countless lives and the gods of finance rule, where immigrants live in fear, and where the nation's unhealed wounds wreak havoc around the world. Akhtar attempts to make sense of it all through the lens of a story about one family, from a heartland town in America to palatial suites in Central Europe to guerrilla lookouts in the mountains of Afghanistan, and spares no one - least of all himself - in the process.

©2020 Ayad Akhtar (P)2020 Little, Brown & Company

What the critics say

One of the New York Times 10 Best Books of the Year
One of Barack Obama's Favorite Books of 2020
Finalist for the 2021 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction
A Best Book of 2020 *
Washington Post * O Magazine * New York Times Book Review * Publishers Weekly

"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 and Then We Came to the End)

"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)

"An urgent, intimate hybrid of memoir and fiction, Homeland Elegies thrusts us into the heart of a father-son relationship and, in the process-improbably-does nothing short of laying bare the broken heart of our American dream turned reality TV nightmare. The book's dissection of the deeply human desire to aspire and dream, and its illumination of the quest for success, 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)

What listeners say about Homeland Elegies

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  • Ben
  • 2021-02-06

Made me appreciate the US from a new perspective

Brilliantly captures all the contradictions, dysfunctions and foibles of early 21C USA, through the perspective of a native-born Muslim from Wisconsin who rises through the US literature world only once he recognizes how rejected he is by his own nation

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Beautiful story uninhibitedly told

Gory details of author's sexual exploits not withstanding, found the story engrossing and entertaining. Learned a lot about US politics and social change over the years.

It is difficult to put the book into a particular genre, it appears though that it's a memoir intertwined with fiction to tell a story uninhibited. And this adds to the mystique of the tale, part real part fiction, exceptionally written and beautifully narrated.

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  • LC
  • 2021-02-06

a mishmash of political theory and porn

Neither a particularly well argued piece of political commentary nor a compelling narrative. The sex was totally gratuitous. I felt like I was listening to a 23 year old graduate student yammer on about the latest article he had read...but most 23 year olds wouldn't go on ad nauseum about their syphilis. Pretty awful.

51 people found this helpful

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  • Scott81621
  • 2020-11-05

Intelligence and Humanity

I responded to Ayad’s humility, honesty and directness. Of course, his writing style and use of language is captivating. I was a little shocked about his sexual encounters. The discourse openly linked to loneliness, ambivalence and potential violence. This made it personal to me and I felt a courageous willingness from him to share his complicated inner feelings about his upbringing and American homeland. This book taught me that we all have conflicting feelings and experiences with America. No matter our gender, our ethnicity or financial class... there is betrayal and seduction in the American experience. This reveals a harsh reality of exclusion and judgement about what is a successful life. Money has become the god of America. My heart cries out that it has passed by humanity for many years. To live at all with compassion and heart is risky now...but I believe it to be the only way to bear what America has become and what is needed to reset the moral compass of our shared experience.

40 people found this helpful

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  • Criticalthinker
  • 2020-11-11

Ugh.

Hated this in all respects. I didn’t want any if it in my head. Who wants to hear anything about Trump, especially now? Definitely exchanging this mess.

33 people found this helpful

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  • W Perry Hall
  • 2020-10-21

Sings

A wonder at provoking thoughts on today’s societal ills in America and the odyssey of first-generation American citizens born to Asian immigrants (and, particularly those, like the author, of Pakistani immigrant parents).

I love books like this: part memoir, part fiction, all brilliantly conceived and written in prose that often floats like a melody. Poetic.

22 people found this helpful

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  • Cherilyn Parsons
  • 2020-11-03

Brilliant

Such an important book, riveting to read (listen to)... and I think the first truly superb a piece of fiction about Trump’s America. I am recommending it to everyone. Also, the author voiced the audio, and it was the best audio reading by an author that I’ve ever heard!

20 people found this helpful

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  • farha
  • 2020-10-17

Best book After decade hands down

It has a poignant raw and bleeding quality like a novel from Dostoyevsky! It reads like a novel but has so many factual statements.
I have to say I have notnot enjoyed the book as much as this since I read cutting for Stone by Ibraheem Vargas.

The attention to detail including the left corner of the prayer mat being turned and left such Was so effective . One almost felt the conflict, the achievement and the pain of each character.

18 people found this helpful

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  • Kate
  • 2020-11-03

Fabulous

An incredible book, written with extreme intelligence, clarity, and integrity, which explores the most profound questions of culture, patriotism, racism, love, and generational trauma.

11 people found this helpful

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  • Robert
  • 2020-10-22

expanded my thinking

This book allowed me an opportunity to see the world from the lens of someone with background much different than mine. Not surprisingly, however, much seemed familiar. I feel a little wiser for having had the chance to listen to this. I'd love to take in a play of Akhtar's when the world opens up again. I really enjoyed Ayad Akhtar's reading, especially is Father's voice. But I think the production may have been rushed just a little. I noticed one instance where the same word was read twice. (That's a new one for me. I think they stopped and started and lost their place.) And in a few places the tone or sound of the voice changed abruptly. Those nits are a small price to pay for an otherwise stellar performance.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Vroooom
  • 2020-10-21

An excellent experience

This is a beautifully written, compellingly performed novel that should not missed. I loved it!

9 people found this helpful

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  • Jane
  • 2020-12-24

Great book

I was completely mesmerized and moved. I had seen that this was on many Best of 2020 lists but was still unprepared for how well the story was written and how well it was read (sadly, few writers can read their own work well if it is not a memoir).
Homeland Elegies is heartbreaking and transformative, and it is on my own Best of 2020 list now.

8 people found this helpful