Tamim Ansary’s Afghan-American Story

10 November, 2015



Jordan Elgrably

In West of Kabul, East of New York, author Tamim Ansary (Destiny DisruptedGames Without Rules) has written a thoroughly personal account of rediscovering his multiple selves as an Afghan from a rich culture and extended family, an American who came of age in the era of hippies and counterculture; and a Muslim in the Sufi tradition, in search of Islam’s ultimate meaning and purpose.

Born in Kabul, Ansary arrived in the States at the age of 16. He is the product of an Aghan father educated abroad and an American mother from Chicago. For 35 years he adapted to American life, becoming a writer in San Francisco. It wasn’t until the events of 9/11 that he decided it was time to go home again.

His storytelling is straightforward and engaging, heartwarmingly so, because Ansary is a writer who cares not only about his protagonist (in this case himself) but all his characters, major and minor. The nonfiction narrative, written after the events of 9/11 in an attempt to unveil Ansary’s remembrance of Afghanistan for unknowing American readers, is a genuine page-turner and an adventure story that should be read any anyone wishing to see the connections and common causes of east and west. In this book, it comes down to family and love of one’s country, and that’s something we can all relate to—American or Afghan, Arab or Jew, Catholic, Buddhist or atheist. Above all, Ansary is a natural bridgebuilder between civilizations.

If only politicians could be this empathic. Read this book and share it with friends. —Jordan Elgrably

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