Spotlighting Muslim Authors in Adult Fiction

  • Crescent

    2003 by Abu-Jaber, Diana

    Crescent is a complex, rich novel with multiple layers that weaves the story of a romance between an alluring chef and a handsome, haunted Near Eastern Studies professor together with a fanciful tale of a mother's quest to find her wayward son. The author does an incredible job in exploring private emotions and global politics with both grace and conviction. Recommended by Rummanah.

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  • Throne of the Crescent Moon

    2012 by Ahmed, Saladin

    This is the complete package, full of adventure, memorable characters, terrifying monsters, moral ambiguity, and the best Thousand and One Nights-inspired fantasy worldbuilding. A veteran of countless fights with ghuls and the dark sorcerers who command them, Adoulla must undertake one last quest, with companions ranging from a warrior-dervish having a crisis of faith to a shapeshifter out to avenge the slaughter of her tribe. Recommended by Andrew.

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  • Homeland Elegies

    2020 by Akhtar, Ayad

    Is it fiction or nonfiction? Or is it a collection of essays? I'm happy with calling it autofiction, and a stunning one at that. Akhtar's second "novel" zeroes in especially on what it's been like to be a Muslim-American post 9/11 and all the challenges that's entailed. It's a raw, brilliant, complex, and stunning work of art. Recommended by Chris.

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  • The Golden Scales: A Makana Mystery

    2012 by Bilal, Parker

    A former Sudanese police inspector named Makana ekes out a living as an unlicensed (and undocumented) private eye in 1990s Cairo. Working two missing persons cases that may be connected takes him from the fabled Khan el-Khalili market to the penthouses and Red Sea villas of the superrich. The setting may be unconventional, but much about Makana's lonely, weary journey will resonate with fans of classic noir fiction. Recommended by Andrew.

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  • The City of Brass

    2017 by Chakraborty, S. A.

    An exceptional, complex, and multilayered fantasy that centers on the kingdom's deeply divisive religious, political, and racial tensions. The characters are excellent and delightfully flawed. I loved the inclusion and infusion of Middle Eastern culture throughout the novel. Recommended by Rummanah.

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  • Exit West

    2017 by Hamid, Mohsin

    One of the most acclaimed novels of the present century, Hamid's magical realist take on the global movement of refugees drives home the point that these are utterly "ordinary" people thrust into experiences no less strange and traumatic than, well, bribing one's way through a portal to a part of the world where you've never been...a part of the world where no one wants to hear about what you left behind and why you're running. Recommended by Andrew.

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  • In the Language of Miracles

    2015 by Hassib, Rajia

    Hassib's debut novel is timely, sensitive, and offers no easy answers. The Al-Menshawys are Egyptian, Muslim immigrants living in a small New Jersey town. They were once loved and embraced in their tight, niche community until a tragedy ostracized them. Recommended by Rummanah.

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  • The Mismatch

    2021 by Jafari, Sara

    While often touted as romance, The Mismatch is more of a family drama with a romantic subplot. Reviewers have recommended it for anyone looking for an in-depth look into complex family dynamics and how they impact self-discovery. What sets this story apart is how it portrays the large diversity in religion by juxtaposing the main protagonist’s story against her mom’s. Recommended by Leslie.

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  • Ayesha at Last

    2019 by Jalaluddin, Uzma

    I absolutely loved this modern adaptation of Austen's Pride and Prejudice. While using the bones of Austen's famous novel, Jalaluddin provides a Muslim love story that expertly navigates the intersections of identity, religion, culture, tradition, familial expectations, and personal dreams. A great choice for readers looking for a chaste romance. Recommended by Rummanah.

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  • The Thirty Names of Night

    2020 by Joukhadar, Zeyn

    A complex and exquisite story of visibility, being, and belonging. I found both narratives equally compelling. While the story lines are written in the unusual second person and addressed to another character, it did not deter me from connecting to the characters. I read these two story lines as confessionals that are much easier told to another person than to yourself. Recommended by Rummanah.

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  • The Unquiet Dead

    2015 by Khan, Ausma Zehanat

    A wonderful complex mystery series featuring Detective Esa Khattack and his partner, Detective Rachel Getty, as they solve crimes that center on modern-day issues such as racism, religious intolerance, and the dangers refugees face. Recommended by Rummanah.

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  • Sofia Khan Is Not Obliged: Sofia Khan Series, Book 1

    2015 by Malik, Ayisha

    This book is much more than a romantic comedy, as it tackles many of the stereotypical and preconceived notions others may have about Muslims and the Muslim culture. I loved the dialogue, how the cultural aspects were infused into the story, and how Malik gave insight into a genuine Muslim family. Recommended by Rummanah.

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  • Snow

    2004 by Pamuk, Orhan

    There's a genre known as "slow cinema," where long takes and quiet observation take precedence. Pamuk's work is like this, especially Snow, a slyly meandering labyrinth of a book with a rootless protagonist wandering a backwater Turkish town and encountering various figures who ruminate on a cornucopia of subjects. Not to be read in one gulp, but in fits and starts. Recommended by Chris.

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  • The Architect's Apprentice

    2015 by Shafak, Elif

    Jahan arrives in Constantinople as a mahout for a baby elephant from India. Absorbed into the sultan's court, the boy attracts the attention of the brilliant architect-engineer Sinan. Set largely during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent, Shafak's novel brings the world that created some of the greatest masterpieces of Islamic architecture to vivid life. Recommended by Andrew.

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  • The Bird King

    2019 by Wilson, G. Willow

    1491: As the palace of Alhambra falls to the invading Spanish, a royal concubine named Fatima goes on the run with her friend Hassan, a mapmaker whose drawings have a way of becoming real. For all its fantastical elements, this is fundamentally a story about displaced people--whether human or djinn--trying to find a new home, even if it means traveling beyond the boundaries of the known world. Recommended by Andrew.

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