Children of Dust: A Memoir of Pakistan.... By Ali Eteraz


reviewed by Marc Schulman


This book was interesting and engaging, with a strangely unsatisfying end. Children of Dust tells the story of a young boy growing up in Pakistan who moves to the United States. The book is written in an engaging and humorous way. There is a clear sense that you are living Eteraz’s life. We follow Eteraz, as he tries to come to grip with his growing sexuality, while maintaining his strict observance of Muslim law, (which prohibits even looking at a woman.)

After a trip back to Pakistan to look for a “proper wife”, Eteraz becomes disillusioned with Islam and turns away from a strict observance. When 9/11 takes place he becomes convinced he needs to bring about reform in the Muslim world. His attempts at doing so are not wildly successful.

The book provides insight into a period of Eteraz's life when he is the head of the Muslim student council in his college. There he helps organize an anti-Israel rally that crosses over to be anti-semtic, when they invite a rabidly anti-semtic speaker. Ali has second thoughts, since he had worked closely with the campus Rabbi to open a Kosher/Halal food service. In the end, he does not cancel the event, since he feels that is what was expected of him leader of an Islamic group.

The breezy narrative made this book an easy read and an excellent story. However, it left me wanting to better understand the writer. A more reflective ending, would have been nice.

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