Nine Parts of Desire has a new Afterword.
It is now more than a decade since I sat in a tiny study in London, writing the last chapter of this book. In that conclusion, I evaluated the call by the Shiite cleric Ali Allawi for Westerners to disassociate Islam from the “background noise” of prejudice and dire social practice in so many Islamic regimes.
On September 11, 2001, that background noise became a roar. That morning, I woke to the news in a hotel room in Portland, Oregon, about as far as one could be from the dust and flame of the Pentagon and the World Trade Center and still be in the continental United States. I was on a speaking tour for my first novel, Year of Wonders. After years of toiling through the hardwood forests of contemporary fact, I had turned to historical fiction as an alternate way to explore questions of faith and idealism, and how human beings cope with catastrophe.Read More»