Muslimská literatura ve Spojených státech // Muslim literature in the United States

Karel Helman
2018 Svět Literatury  
In its introductory part, the present article traces the development of a distinct genre of Muslim American literature (MAL) both within and outside of the overlapping categories of Arab-American and African-American literature. Having introduced two MAL representatives of Syrian and Pakistani origin, Mohja Kahf and Ayad Akhtar, the article focuses on the comparison of their acclaimed debut novels — exemplary Muslim American bildungsromans — The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf and American Dervish.
more » ... d American Dervish. These coming-of-age tales are set in the Midwest in the 1970s and 80s, where both writers grew up. They draw sharp, earthy portraits of Muslim characters, young heroes struggling to reconcile the faith with their secular adoptive country, religious expatriate community and parents. The two characters seek to strike a delicate balance between the integration into a pluralistic society and the awareness of their ancestral traditions, thus developing from devout teenagers to more composed young adults. Addressing the general issue of minorities within mainstream cultures, both MAL authors show outsiders what it means to be a Muslim in a secular society, expanding their novels' universal reference scope to overcome the clichés of the after-9/11 national trauma literature.
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