In this debut novel, American Dervish, Hayat, a young Muslim-American boy, must juggle cultural identity, faith and family history in suburban life. At a time when he is only just starting to come of age, his mother's mysterious sister comes to live with his family in America. The rift between his father and his aunt, a beautiful, enigmatic and intelligent, but also devout Muslim, brings tension to the home. Hayat, however, develops a relationship with his aunt that bridges him to a world he has never known, with tragic consequences.
Ayad Akhtar, an American-born, first-generation Pakistani-American, grew up in Milwaukee, continuing on to earn degrees from Brown and Columbia universities. An actor and screenwriter, his 2005 film The War Within was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award and an International Press Academy Satellite Award.