I finished reading this novel a few days ago, but it still lingers with me. In fact, with the strong exception of Daisy’s Babylon and The Dead Beat, The Taqwacores is probably the best novel I’ve read in a while. Here is the summary posted by automedia:
Set in a Muslim punk-house in Buffalo, New York, this novel explores the twin identities of punk and Islam in their many varieties and degrees of orthodoxy. The story here is primarily with the characters — such as Umar, the straight-edge Sunni; Rabeya, the burqa-clad riot grrl; Jehangir, the dope-smoking mohawked Sufi (who plays rooftop calls-to-prayer on his electric guitar) — and their collective articulation of a heresy-friendly, pluralist Islam. Full of punk references (real and invented) and enough Arabic phrases to fully deck out your skateboard, The Taqwacores is a great introduction to the cracks in the surface of mainstream Islam with a peculiarly American face.
As always, that is far too simplistic a description of what is going on in the novel, but it hopefully baits your interest. For those of you in the UK, please note that sections of the book were censored for some reason, so you may want to order the US version. And oddly enough, the author of this fine novel is originally from… Geneva, NY. But nobody around here seems to know much about him.