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The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf: A Novel

de Mohja Kahf

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1748123,438 (3.64)11
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: 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.… (mais)
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» Veja também 11 menções

Mostrando 1-5 de 8 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
This is a poignant and insightful glimpse at what it means to be a person of faith, an ethnic minority, and an American. This is brimful of imagination, empathy, and intellectual criticism for the way we box each other and ourselves into neat identity categories, when the reality is much messier. Highly recommended. ( )
  DrFuriosa | Dec 4, 2020 |
A timely story (especially considering the current debate over Middle Eastern refugees) about a Syrian family living on the outskirts of Indianapolis, Indiana. The Islamic faith is vital to the Shamy family and much of this novel explores the daughter Khadra's experience growing up as an Islamic girl and the struggles she endured in trying to stay loyal to her devout family and also to earn the respect of her starkly normal, often white counterparts in her family's neighborhood and school. I also appreciated the exploration of Muslim women and the path Khadra navigates as both a feminist and also as a devout and observant Muslim. An interesting and timely tale. ( )
  wagner.sarah35 | Feb 4, 2016 |
A rather amazing book. A novel that reads like lived experience. A young woman's life and times as a muslim american growing up in Indiana. At one time or another she was foreign to everything about her, family and society, but her experiences as an outsider allowed her to grow and make her own peace with the divine. Quite brilliant... ( )
  TomMcGreevy | Feb 1, 2016 |
Syria.

An awkwardly written novel that becomes more compelling as it gathers steam, The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf is worth reading for content, though not for style. Kahf provides a look at Muslim communities in the Midwest and elsewhere, racism and sexism directed both to and from Muslims, and the immigrant's dislocation. The childhood sections are overly sentimental and do not ring as true as the adolescent and young adult portions. However, Kahf does a relatively good job of depicting the protagonist's stages of religious development, including both extremism and the later recognition of the limitations of her parents' enactment of Islam.

The writing was often wooden and self-conscious, at times loosening up in a way that suggests that the novel was constructed in parts, some ultimately more fluidly rendered than others. The first 2/3 would have been better served by editing out around 100-150 pages to tighten the action and lead more compellingly to the last third, which is, though episodic, more emotionally engaging.

The use of "girl" in the title is strange since, as is made clear by the cover, she has a tangerine scarf as a woman, not as a girl. It is also odd because one of the book's points is that the protagonist is an adult; though a case could be made for the title as ironic, there is no support for this interpretation in the novel.

Future editions would benefit from consistent use of italics (or not) for foreign words, as well as a spelling check for foreign words in languages other than Arabic. Both Spanish and Hebrew words are incorrectly or inconsistently spelled.
( )
  OshoOsho | Mar 30, 2013 |
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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: 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.

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813.6 — Literature American and Canadian American fiction 21st Century

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