The Convert: A Tale of Exile and Extremism

By Deborah Baker

*A 2011 nationwide e-book Award Finalist*

A spellbinding tale of renunciation, conversion, and radicalism from Pulitzer Prize-finalist biographer Deborah Baker

What drives a lady raised in a postwar big apple urban suburb to transform to Islam, abandon her nation and Jewish religion, and embody a lifetime of everlasting exile in Pakistan? The Convert, a finalist for the nationwide ebook Award and a Publishers Weekly Best booklet of 2011, tells the gripping tale of the way Margaret Marcus of Larchmont turned Maryam Jameelah of Lahore.

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There i discovered Assistant Curator Thomas G. Lannon unfailingly cordial, important, and enthusiastic. eventually, in 2008–2009 i used to be the beneficiary of a fellowship on the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman heart for students and Writers. This enabled me to investigate and write this booklet full-time, supplying me not only an workplace within the library yet a striking crew of fellow writers, each one of whom supplied consistent notion from a number of instructions. i'd quite wish to thank my fellow Cullman pupil Deborah Cohen for her shut reads of an early draft of the manuscript and Akeel Bilgrami for suggesting methods the talk among Islam and the West will be reframed. i'll always remember, too, Jean Strouse’s comedian reflections at the mysterious byways, either psychic and narrative, of the biographical artwork. I salute all my Cullman brethren, and so much fairly, the past due Dorothy Cullman, who made this dream of safe haven and mirrored image actual. Now for the breathless, faraway from entire record of these with no whom i may by no means have controlled: Durre S. Ahmed, Negar Azimi, Jonathan and Julie Baker, Katie Dublinski, Jennifer Elliott, John Esposito, Gregory Gibson, Judith Ginsberg, Richard Grinker, Susan Hobson, Adina Hoffman, Mahnaz Ispahani, Lynn Marasco, Mandy McClure, Albert Mobilio, Mira Nair, Geoffrey O’Brien, Ahmad Rashid, Katherine Russell wealthy, Elizabeth Rubin, Ranjana Sengupta, Michele Stevenson, Melanie Thernstrom, Salman Toor, and Eliot Weinberger both gave my manu­script sincere and shut reads, or supplied me a comfy mattress, or a pointed dialog at susceptible issues in this excursion. In Lahore i used to be a houseguest of Najam Sethi and Jugnu Mohsin. of their overdue evening banter, lounge discussions over tea, and their sufferer solutions to my all too blameless questions, they and their pals supplied an important ancient context for the occasions that have been then eating (and proceed to devour) their urban and nation. i'm additionally thankful to Abul Ala Mawdudi’s sons, Ahmad Farooq and Haider Farooq, and his grandson Ali Farooq, in addition to to Asma Jehangir for bringing us jointly. Ali Sethi used to be my consultant to the key palaces and ­sacred locations of Lahore; I couldn’t have had a greater one. i'd additionally prefer to thank my literary agent, David McCormick, and to recognize his ­formidable dogged­ness on behalf of this booklet and the roundabout course it took to discover a writer. My editor Ethan Nosowsky helped the manu­script ­arrive at its ultimate shape; i'm frankly cautious of reckoning the level of that debt. Fiona McCrae, director of Graywolf Press, performed the a part of ­benevolent fairy godmother. eventually and basically: thanks, Lila, Nayan, and Amitav. DEBORAH BAKER used to be born in Charlottesville and is a graduate of the collage of Virginia. She is the writer of In Extremis: The lifetime of Laura driving, which was once a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize. In 2008 Penguin released her booklet A Blue Hand: The Beats in India, a story account of Allen Ginsberg’s travels in India. whereas a Fellow on the Cullman middle for students and Writers on the manhattan Public Library, she researched and wrote The Convert.

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