The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf: A Novel

The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf: A Novel

by Mojha Kahf


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Syrian immigrant Khadra Shamy is growing up in a devout, tightly knit Muslim family in 1970s Indiana, at the crossroads of bad polyester and Islamic dress codes. Along with her brother Eyad and her African-American friends, Hakim and Hanifa, she bikes the Indianapolis streets exploring the fault-lines between “Muslim” and “American.”

When her picture-perfect marriage goes sour, Khadra flees to Syria and learns how to pray again. On returning to America she works in an eastern state — taking care to stay away from Indiana, where the murder of her friend Tayiba's sister by Klan violence years before still haunts her. But when her job sends her to cover a national Islamic conference in Indianapolis, she's back on familiar ground: Attending a concert by her brother's interfaith band The Clash of Civilizations, dodging questions from the “aunties” and “uncles,” and running into the recently divorced Hakim everywhere.

Beautifully written and featuring an exuberant cast of characters, The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf charts the spiritual and social landscape of Muslims in middle America, from five daily prayers to the Indy 500 car race. It is a riveting debut from an important new voice.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780786715190
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Publication date: 09/12/2006
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 352,176
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 10.88(h) x 0.94(d)
Age Range: 9 - 12 Years

About the Author

Born in Damascus, Syria, Mohja Kahf came to the U.S. as a child. Kahf is an associate professor of comparative literature at Rutgers. Her first book of literary scholarship is Western Representations of the Muslim Woman: From Termagant to Odalisque (University of Texas Press, 1999). She is also the author of a book of poetry, E-mails from Sheherazad (University Press of Florida 2003). Kahf is a member of the national group RAWI (Radius of Arab American Writers).

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Girl in the Tangerine Scarf 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
auntieknickers on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Published as a novel, this reads more like a memoir or the "new journalism," but it does give a good picture of the life of a Syrian Muslim immigrant girl growing up in Indianapolis in the 1970s and 80s. It was our "Parish Read" for this year, part of a Windows on Islam program.
Miela on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is one of my favorite novels that I discovered in the past year and a half. Khadra, a 30-something photographer returns to Indianapolis, where she spent the majority of her childhood. During her journey, she confronts her past, including prejudice against the local Muslim community.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love Kara and her stories. It felt like a friend taking me with her on a storytelling jourbey. I just need to look up a few words to feel more familiar with some parts of Islam, but it definitely didn't take me out of the story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This novel by a Syrian American, Muslim woman is well worth reading. It is loosely autobiographical giving an insider point of view of what it is like growing up in a puritan home (in an attempt to create a utopian Islamic home and culture, whatever that means) in Indiana. The book is written for both Muslims and non-Muslims alike. It is an easier read for Muslims because of their familiarity with Arabic terms for prayer, charity, etc. I believe it is a bit of harder read for readers not familiar with Islam. It is a pity that the book does not have a glossary.