Tuesday, March 2, 2021

tiny book reviews (2021): homeland elegies, by ayad akhtar

With 'Homeland Elegies,' Pulitzer winner Ayad Akhtar cements himself as one  of America's most vital writers | The Seattle Times

At the end of last year, The New York Times published a list of its ten best books of 2020--five non-fiction and five fiction. This was the first of the ten I picked up. 

(Also, I may have actually finished it in 2020, but library records show that it wasn't returned until Jan 2, so I'm counting it for 2021.)

I really enjoyed this book. 

I'm not sure how much more I want to say about it than that. Still, I'll try.

It's a novel, but written as a memoir. I don't know enough about Akhtar to distinguish between what is autobiographical and what is not. I'm not sure that matters. What matters is that it reads true, as a memoir, so that you believe that you are reading stories about real people and true events. 

It's also about the relationships between fathers and sons. It's about politics. And it's about "making it."

It's also about what I would call a uniquely American life, in that the author is almost definitionally American, yet so much of the book is a narrative of the struggle of figuring out what that means, for him, as his identity bumps into his parents', who are immigrants, and his people, to the extent that his genealogy and national background define what "his people" means, and others' notions of an American is or should be.

Anyway, I loved it. And recommend it strongly. 

5 out of 5 stars.

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