The Marvels of Being Both Afghan and American: Tamim Ansary


In West of Kabul, East of New York, author Tamim Ansary (Destiny Disrupted; Games Without Rules) has written a thoroughly personal account of rediscovering his multiple selves as an Afghan from a rich culture and extended family, an American who came of age in the era of hippies and counterculture; and a Muslim in the Sufi tradition, in search of Islam’s ultimate meaning and purpose. His storytelling is straightforward and engaging, heartwarmingly so, because Ansary is a writer who cares not only about his protagonist (in this case himself) but all his characters, major and minor. The nonfiction narrative, written after the events of 9/11 in an attempt to unveil Ansary’s remembrance of Afghanistan for unknowing American readers, is a genuine page-turner, a book that should be read any anyone wishing to see the connections and common causes of east and west. In this book, it comes down to family and love of one’s country, and that’s something we can all relate to—American or Afghan, Arab or Jew, Catholic, Buddhist or atheist. Above all, Ansary is a natural bridgebuilder between civilizations. If only politicians could be this empathic. Read this book and share it with friends. —Jordan Elgrably

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