Micah Yongo in Media Diversified:
‘A person’s identity,’ Lebanese-French author Amin Maalouf once wrote, ‘is like a pattern drawn on a tightly stretched parchment. Touch just one part of it, just one allegiance, and the whole person will react, the whole drum will sound.’
It was these words that came to mind as I finished reading Haris A. Durrani’s intriguing debut novella, Technologies of the Self: a shrewd commentary on identity and culture that masquerades so well as something else that by the time you finish reading you almost feel hoodwinked.
The story begins as a classic immigrant family drama, complete with amusing observations on life as a western millennial born to parents from differing and more traditional cultures. However, we are soon ushered seamlessly from the smell of plátanos and the rapid, witty dialogue of family members around the dining table, into some of the broader themes that are explored.
The protagonist is a young American Muslim who wrestles to reconcile the varying influences of family, faith and place. Son to a Pakistani father and Dominican mother, Jihad – or, to his Caucasian counterparts, ‘Joe’ – journeys through his own memories and those of his family as he seeks to examine the immigrant experience and understand himself in relation to it.
More here. [Thanks to H. M. Naqvi.]