Press Kit

Advance Praise for AMERICAN TALIBAN:

“A riveting and revealing novel…. An intellectual page-turner for our brave new world.”
–Gary Shteyngart, author of The Russian Debutante’s Handbook and Absurdistan

“[An] intimate portrait of how a more or less ordinary American boy might be seduced by the idea of submitting to Islam….a fascinating and important novel.” –Margot Livesey, author of The House on Fortune Street

“It is a rare delight to be given a novel that actually makes you think. Rarer still to have a book utterly rip open your heart. AMERICAN TALIBAN is that rarest of accomplishments, one that does both at the same time.”
–Charles Bock, author of Beautiful Children

“Pearl Abraham transforms the imperiled American novel into something intellectually bold and morally urgent. A virtuoso performance.”  –Stephanie Grant, author of Map of Ireland and The Passion of Alice

November 2009

Dear Book Review Editor/Reviewer:

How could a seemingly ordinary American end up on the wrong side of the war on terror?  In her new novel, AMERICAN TALIBAN (Random House Hardcover; On-Sale: April 13, 2010), critically acclaimed writer Pearl Abraham dares to answer that question through an intimate and powerful portrait of a young man on a spiritual journey who ends up in Pakistan and Afghanistan on the eve of 9/11.  Provocative and written with bold, original language, this book is poised to become one of the most-talked about reads of 2010.

An avid, six-foot-tall, nineteen year old surfer, John Jude Parish cuts a striking figure on the beaches of North Carolina. When he isn’t on water, John lives on wheels, a self-described skateboard rat—grinding and kickflipping with his friends, and encouraged by his progressive parents. His hero is the great explorer Richard Burton, his personal prophet is Bob Dylan, and his world is wide open to possibilities.

Through online forums and chat rooms, John meets a young woman from Brooklyn who spurs his interest in Islam and Arab literature. Deferring Brown University for a year, he moves to New York to study Arabic. Like Burton, John embraces the experience heart, body, and soul—submitting to Islam, practicing the salaat, fasting and meditating, and encountering the extraordinary.  As Burton lived the life of a modern adventurer who penetrated the ancient wisdom of secret worlds, John will too, but with unforeseen consequences.

AMERICAN TALIBAN begins, not with unknowable jihad, but with Emerson and American Transcendentalism, with Whitman’s celebrated search for the self—which is to say, with the American religion.  The story ends with news headlines and the questions Americans have asked since John Walker Lindh was found in Afghanistan in late Fall 2001:  How could an American end up on the wrong side of this war?  What do you do when you realize that your child may be an enemy to your country?   How do you explain the rise in home-grown terrorist acts?

Using her gifts of psychological acuity and empathy, Abraham depicts a typical upper-middle-class family snared by the forces of history, politics, and faith.  I could not put this book down and it has stayed with me since I finished reading the last page.  I hope you will make space for prominent review and feature coverage.

Best regards,
Jennifer Huwer, Senior Publicist, Random House Trade Publicity
212-547-3995; email

About the Author:
Pearl Abraham is the author of The Seventh Beggar, Giving Up America, and The Romance Reader, and the editor of an anthology about Jewish heroines in literature, Een sterke vrouw, wie zal haar vinden?. Her stories and essays have appeared in newspapers, literary quarterlies and anthologies. Abraham has taught in the graduate writing programs at University of Houston and Sarah Lawrence College and currently teaches literature and creative writing at Western New England College.  She lives in Springfield, MA, and New York City.

To read about the making of American Taliban, please click here.

Pearl Abraham * Random House Hardcover
On-Sale Date:  April 13, 2010
ISBN:  978-1-4000-6858-6

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