Akhtar comes to grips with the meaning of being a Muslim in
America. He asks the question: How do you become an American? Given the weighty
question, it’s not surprising that he doesn’t come up with a clear-cut answer. Home
Elegies is billed as a novel, but is it fiction or autobiographical? Akhtar
himself admits it is difficult to translate experience into art.
On skin color
I felt a visceral disgust for the sickly tints of the white
skin I saw everywhere around me, the blanched arms and legs, faces the color of
paste, flesh devoid of warmth or human glow. He came to think of his
own non-white skin as surpassingly strange.
Akhtar criticizes Democrats and Republicans. He scoffs both
at Obama and Trump.
Was it a good thing that Obama, a black intellectual, was
elected to the office of president? No, his concern for the country was marred
by his superciliousness…[he]gloried in his pop-culture celebrity while
bemoaning a system whose political dysfunctions prevented him from leading.
Was Trump the better choice? No, he just mirrored the
national mood – nasty, brutish, nihilistic. He was an
unapologetically racist real estate magnate embodying the rise of white
property rights; a self-absorbed idiot epitomizing the rampant social
self-obsession and narcissism that was making us all stupider by the day; greed
Is this Akhtar speaking or his protagonist? You figure it