Review: Disgraced by Ayad Akhtar

Posted 14 November, 2013 by Pushy in Featured, Pushy, Pushy Book Review / 6 Comments

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Disgraced by Ayad AkhtarDisgraced by Ayad Akhtar
Published by Bloomsbury on April 25th 2013
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Play
Pages: 112
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
5 Stars

The story of Amir Kapoor (Aasif Mandvi), a successful Pakistani-American lawyer who is rapidly moving up the corporate ladder while distancing himself from his cultural roots. When Amir and his wife Emily (Heidi Armbruster), a white artist influenced by Islamic imagery, host a dinner party, what starts out as a friendly conversation escalates into something far more damaging.

A Powerful Work Of Art

It’s not often that I read something and am struck by the sheer weight of how profound it is, but that is exactly what happened when I listened to this play.  Intimate and yet at the same time universal, Disgraced by Ayad Akhtar completely undid me, leaving me deeply moved.

Set in NYC over a period of time both pre and post 9/11, Disgraced introduces us to a very modern couple, Amir Kapoor and his wife Emily.  They’re the sort of chic city couple so lauded these days:  he’s a highly successful lawyer and she’s an emerging artist, they live in a fabulous high rise apartment and are definitely part of the jet set.  But underneath that perfect veneer, tensions shimmer.  Amir, while a total apostate to his religion, struggles with both dealing with the racism around him and with not loosing his cultural identity.  Emily, loves Amir for who he is and loves the culture that he’s distanced himself from, yet she’s unaware of the darker elements of how that culture has influenced Amir’s past.

Over the course of the play, we see Amir confronted by his culture and the religion he’s estranged from and how one act of kindness, urged upon him by his wife, completely unravels his life.

A breath taking, relentless look at secularism, religion and their interplay in the modern age.  This is a modern classic.  Read this NOW!

Rating 4


As I said above, I adored this performance.  I’m sure reading this play would be moving, but Heidi Armbruster and in particular Aasif Mandvi make this work shine.  Listening to this work of art is WELL worth the time.

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6 Responses to “Review: Disgraced by Ayad Akhtar”

  1. Wow. While this sounds like something I’d never pick up on my own, you’ve piqued my interest! So, this was actually written as a play?
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    Pushy 11/20/2013

    Mary, I picked it up on a lark, because I’m a fan of Aasif Mandvi from The Daily Show. I was completely blown away by the depth of this story! And yes, it’s a play! It debuted here in Chicago (not that I noticed, nose-in-a-book that I am) and went on to win the Pulitzer!
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  2. I’m so impressed and pleased to see a book about an under-represented minority (in the literary world) not only be published, but go on to acclaim and success. You can’t get much more successful than a Pulitzer, huh? Thank you very much for the great review! 🙂
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    Pushy 11/20/2013

    I agree! I think it’s a particularly interesting perspective to delve into with all the conversations of how America relates to different nations and how that translates to multicultural relations here in the States. Plus, this play is UNFLINCHING and unapologetic in the view points it portrays. Truly fascinating!!!
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