Thursday, October 8, 2009


Children of Dust

A Memoir of Pakistan

By Ali Eteraz


An extraordinary personal journey from Islamic fundamentalism to a new life in the West.

Ali Eteraz's Children of Dust is a spellbinding portrayal of a life that few Americans can imagine. From his schooling in a madrassa in Pakistan to his teenage years as a Muslim American in the Bible Belt, and back to Pakistan to find a pious Muslim wife, this lyrical, penetrating saga from a brilliant new literary voice captures the heart of our universal quest for identity.

Children of Dust
begins in rural Islam at the lowest levels of Pakistani society in the turbulent eighties. This intimate portrayal of rustic village life is revealed through a young boy's eyes as he discovers magic, women, and friendship.

After immigrating with his family to the United States, Eteraz struggles to be a normal American teenager under the rules of a strict Muslim household.

In 1999, he returns to Pakistan to find the villages of his youth dominated by the ideology of the Taliban, filled with young men spouting militant rhetoric, and his extended family under threat. Eteraz becomes the target of a mysterious abduction plot when he is purported to be a CIA agent, and eventually has to escape under military escort.

Back in the United States, with his fundamentalist illusions now shattered, Eteraz tries to find a middle way within American Islam. At each stage of Eteraz's life, he takes on a different identity to signal his evolution. From being pledged to Islam in Mecca as an infant, through Salafi fundamentalism, to liberal reformer, Eteraz desperately struggles to come to terms with being a Pakistani and a Muslim.

Astonishingly honest, darkly comic, and beautifully told, Children of Dust is an extraordinary adventure that reveals the diversity of Islamic beliefs, the vastness of the Pakistani diaspora, and the very human search for home.


"Wildly entertaining, Children of Dust is memoir of the first order, as genuinely American as Muslim, unraveling the perilous mystery that is modern Pakistan as only memoir can. Unlike others, Eteraz has truly 'been there,' and we are all the better for it."
--Murad Kalam, author of Night Journey

"In Children of Dust we follow the journey of a soul determined to reconcile the many worlds that live inside the author. In a time rife with cultural misinterpretations and generalizations, sensitive accounts such as this are invaluable assets."
--Laleh Khadivi, novelist, author of The Age of Orphans

"The gripping story of a young man exposed to both the beauty and ugliness of religion."
--Laila Lalami, author of Secret Son

"A love letter to one man's fading faith, Children of Dust is a gift and a necessity, and should be read by believers and nonbelievers alike. It is sure to deepen our collective conversation about religion and reason, loyalty and universality, and our geopolitical aims. Lucky then that it's also just plain fun to read."
--Yael Goldstein Love, author of Overture and The Passion of Tasha Darsky


Ali Eteraz, author of Children of Dust: A Memoir of Pakistan, was born in Pakistan and has lived in the Middle East, the Caribbean, and the United States. A graduate of Emory University and Temple Law School, he was selected for the Outstanding Scholar's Program at the United States Department of Justice and later worked in corporate litigation in Manhattan. He is a regular contributor to True/Slant; has published articles about Islam and Pakistani politics in Dissent, Foreign Policy, AlterNet, and altMuslim; and is a regular contributor to The Guardian UK and Dawn, Pakistan's oldest English-language daily. His blog in the Islamosphere received nearly two million views as well as a Brass Crescent award for originality. Eteraz has spoken publicly about the situation inside Pakistan, Islamic reform, and Muslim immigration. He currently divides his time between Princeton, New Jersey, and the Middle East, and is working on a novel.

For more information please visit


Would you like to win a copy of Ali Eteraz's Book?

Thanks to Julie and FSB Associates,

I have 2 copies to give away!

Here is what you need to do!

U.S. Residents only

No P. O. Boxes, Please

Include your email address for contact

Be sure each ENTRY is a separate comment!


+1 ENTRY: Tell one reason you want to really win this book

+1 MORE ENTRY: Blog or Tweet about this Giveaway and leave a link in your comment

+1 MORE ENTRY: Watch for my review and answer the BONUS ENTRY question that will be with it and come back HERE to comment on it

All entries due by
6 PM, EST, October 25


A Bookshelf Monstrosity said...

I would love a chance to read a book that provides an alternate perspective on the world. It's important to know about more than what's going on in your own backyard, state, even country.

Thanks for the giveaway.


A Bookshelf Monstrosity said...

tweet tweet:


rubynreba said...

I want to win this book because I have never read a book about Pakistan.

Jo-Jo said...

I just finished reading Three Cups of Tea and absolutely loved it. I'm thinking this book would compliment it well.

joannelong74 AT gmail DOT com

Chelsea said...

I really want this book because I am currently studying about the Middle East in college and find the culture fascinating.



Renee said...

I enjoy reading books from different world perspectives. Thanks for the giveaway.


tanya904 said...

I love to read books that open my eyed to ways of life around the world and would love to win Thanks

Momma Hunt said...

I just got this book in the mail, I am looking forward to and to your comments on this book

bekki1820cb said...

The cover looks interesting to me...half the time, that is the reason that I pick up a book to read it.

bekki1820cb said...


SavingDiva said...

As a grad student, my budget is tight, but I still love to read. I would just love to receive a new book to read.

savingforhome at gmail dot com

Excellent giveaway! *fingers crossed*

Sarah Osborne said...

I want to win this book because I love the Middle East Culture. I lived in Jerusalem on a study abroad for 4 months, and now I have such an appreciation for their way of life. It sounds like a fascinating read!


Sarah Osborne said...

I blogged!


Sarah said...

Please enter me in this giveaway! I am interested in reading a book about Pakistan as I would like to learn more about the Middle East.

saemmerson at yahoo dot com

Sarah Emmerson

Glenn said...

I very much enjoyed reading Khaled Hosseini's books about that region, and this would be a real life version. Thanks for the giveaway.

glenn_pessano AT yahoo DOT com

Jasmyn said...

I would very much like to read this book. It will be added to my TBR list if I don't win. I enjoy reading on religions and lifestyles that I do not know much about. It helps us understand that people that are around us much better if we have an idea of what they believe.


kalynnick said...

The book sounds good so would love to win so I can read it.

kalynnick AT yahoo DOT com

Linna said...

I'd liek to read this book becasue i'm interested in cultural differences. :D

linna.hsu at gmail dot com

Beth (BBRB) said...

I don't know much about Pakistan and would love to read about it.

BethsBookReviewBlog AT gmail DOT com

Rebecca N. said...

This book sounds captivating! I enjoy reading books where peoples lives differ so extremely from mine! Thanks!

imsosweepy { at } gmail { dot } com

Rebecca N. said...

I follow on twitter and tweeted!

imsosweepy { at } gmail { dot } com

nfmgirl said...

I find memoirs about alternative cultures fascinating. Please count me in. Thank you!

nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

nfmgirl said...


nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

Jo-Jo said...

I blogged about your contest here.
joannelong74 AT gmail DOT com

Madwoman-doing-cartwheels said...

I'd love to win a copy as I'd like to learn more about the culture.

Thanks for the chance!

bookcat1010 at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

I would love to read this book so that I can learn more about Pakistan and the Pakistani culture. I hope I'm lucky. MY fingers are crossed.


gaby317 said...

This sounds fascinating. Two of my best friends are from Bangladesh (not the same as Pakistan but there's plenty of shared history) and I've been interested in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal for years and have had my own issues/journey trying to define myself after having grown up in the US and in Asia. I would love to read about Eteraz how the pressures and his experience affect how he defines himself.

Thanks so much!

gaby317nyc at gmail dot com

Sarah said...


saemmerson at yahoo dot com

Sarah Emmerson

ossmcalc said...

I would love to read this book. Children of Dust shows a personal journey of going from one country with its own culture to another country with its own set of values and culture. I have often wondered how people who have given up everything but what they have on cope with the US when they get here.

thank you,


ossmcalc said...

I tweeted about this giveaway

Thank you,


Vera said...

Please enter me. I love books by Middle Eastern authors and with Middle Eastern themes.

Andrea said...

I'm taking a class about the Middle East right now. I think reading this book would be a nice break from the often extremely dense reading assigned for class.

g.g. said...

This sounds like a great way to find out about other cultures. I'd love to win this one.

anjamie (AT) gmail DOT com

Cindy said...

I would love to win this one because I like to learn about other countries' cultures, beliefs and traditions. I think it is important to respect and appreciate people from all types of backgrounds, and learning about their cultures and beliefs is helpful in understanding them.

I follow your blog.

I also follow you on Google. My username is Soccermom213 and I will tweet again about your blog and giveaways.

Socmom213 at aol dot com