Tariq is not sure where he really belongs or where he would rather be. School brings tedium at best, taunts and threats at worst. At home he can't seem to please his increasingly devout father or dispel his mother's growing dislocation and her creeping distance from her husband. Tariq's only solace is music, be it the classical pieces from class or the choubi songs passed on by his uncle Rahim. The only ally of his own age is Rachel, his Jewish classmate. She will not let Tariq's Islamic Iraqi background define how she - or the wider community - sees him. Shamed and sore from an embarrassing beating, Tariq forms a new friendship with the volatile but intriguing record-shop owner, Jamal, who helps Tariq discover the world of jazz. Amidst the dust and grooves of the vinyl, in the glow of Coltrane's amber sound, Tariq senses, for the first time, the different possibilities that are his to decide and fashion. But when the violence, long simmering in the atmosphere, finally erupts, Tariq is forced to navigate a delicate path between family, friends and faith.He takes the ultimate risk - for his friend and for his enemy equally - and the disparate worlds of modern America and traditional Islam come together in an unexpected and gripping resolution.
Peace and violence, faith and mistrust, young adult thriller and literary fiction - this is a supreme story of a young Muslim man caught between two worlds.
Kevin Stevens grew up in Great Falls, Montana. His American father and devoutly Catholic mother relocated their family to Ireland in 1972 and Kevin studied English in UCD alongside Frank McGuinness and Colm Toibin amongst others. Later, he spent 10 years in Boston working in publishing and also wrote a non-fiction title, The Cops Are Robbers, which sold 20,000 copies. He started writing fiction in the late 90's and Simon and Schuster published The Rizzoli Contract, followed by Song for Katya. One of his children's books The Powers was the Dublin UNESCO City of Literature City-wide Reading Project for children in 2014. Kevin has also written for The Irish Times and for Journal of Music in Ireland. He is a leading contributor to the Dublin Review of Books, published online at drb.ie. He divides his time between Boston and Dublin.