American Taliban by Pearl Abraham
A Novel

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 4 Critic Reviews



An avid, near-six-foot-tall surfer, John Jude Parish cuts a striking figure on the beaches of the Outer Banks in North Carolina. When he isn’t on water, John lives on wheels, a self-described skate rat—grinding and kickflipping with his friends, and encouraged by his progressive parents. His hero is the great explorer Richard Burton, his personal prophet is Bob Dylan, and his world is wide open—to new ideas, philosophies, and religions.

Through online forums and chat rooms, John meets a young woman from Brooklyn who spurs his interest in Islam and Arab literature. Deferring Brown University for a year, he moves to the idyllic New York borough to study Arabic. Like Burton, John embraces the experience heart, body, and soul—submitting to Islam, practicing the salaat, fasting and meditating, dancing with dervishes, and encountering the extraordinary. Burton lived the life of a nineteenth-century adventurer, but he also penetrated the ancient wisdom of secret worlds. John will too—with unforeseen consequences.
Critically acclaimed novelist Pearl Abraham uses her gifts of psychological acuity and uncommon empathy to depict a typical upper-middle-class family snared by the forces of history, politics, and faith. In American Taliban, she imagines this young surfer/skater on a distinctly American spiritual journey that begins with Transcendentalism and countercultural impulses, enters into world mysticism, and finds its destination in Islam.
Provocative, unsettling, and written in a brilliantly inventive, refreshingly original voice, American Taliban is poised to become one of the most talked-about novels of the year.

From the Hardcover edition.

About Pearl Abraham

See more books from this Author
Pearl Abraham is the author of the novels The Seventh Beggar, Giving Up America, and The Romance Reader, and the editor of an anthology about Jewish heroines in literature. Her stories and essays have appeared in newspapers, literary quarterlies and anthologies. Abraham teaches literature and creative writing at Western New England College and lives in both Springfield, MA, and New York City.
Published April 1, 2010 by Random House. 273 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for American Taliban

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

While there, John meets two of his online correspondents, Noor, a beautiful dark-haired waitress, and Khaled, who mediates between John and the Sharia students, who view the newcomer as a religious dilettante.

Apr 01 2010 | Read Full Review of American Taliban: A Novel

USA Today

In 2001, Americans reacted with shock and dismay to media images of John Walker Lindh, a 20-year-old American arrested during the U.S. invasion of <kwd href...

| Read Full Review of American Taliban: A Novel

Oregon Live

But a central 30 pages -- assisted by every other moment in young John Jude's search for essence -- makes his conversion to a profoundly mystical Islam utterly believable Abraham's quoteless narrative voice, alternating inside John's and Barbara's heads, unites the two characters karmically, as ...

May 08 2010 | Read Full Review of American Taliban: A Novel

Chicago Tribune

No wonder the exotic Burton looms large to the romantically minded American teenager John Jude Parish, who hungers for adventure and illumination in Pearl Abraham’s new novel “American Taliban.” John Jude — named after John Lennon and the Beatles’ song “Hey, Jude,” which playe...

Jun 02 2010 | Read Full Review of American Taliban: A Novel

Reader Rating for American Taliban

An aggregated and normalized score based on 28 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review