“KANSASTAN offers us the pure truth of divinity.”
Amitava Kumar, author Immigrant, Montana
In a dystopic Kansas on the verge of religious war, who will be its savior?
Inspired by the American Civil War, KANSASTAN takes place in a dystopic Kansas that is besieged by its neighboring state, Missouri. Close to the state line, an orphaned and disabled goatherd lives atop a minaret and is relegated to custodial work by the mosque’s imam while the threat of occupation looms. When his aunt and cousin arrive, the mosque’s congregants believe that the cousin, Faisal, is a young prophet. Faisal comes to also believe in his divinity, stoking the goatherd’s envy and hatred. When the cousins fall in love with the same woman, the goatherd hatches a plan to supplant Faisal in all ways possible—as suitor and the mosque’s savior.
Kansastan is a singular work, infused with Islamic folklore, Quranic lyricism, and Old Testament tales, as American as Cormac McCarthy, and most importantly—viciously funny.
Advance Praise for Kansastan
Amitava Kumar, author of Immigrant, Montana
Halal fiction, blessed with an intensely stylized, lyrical syntax. The narrator’s voice summons the faithful more clearly than a muezzin’s call. Kansastan offers us the pure truth of divinity—or, closer to reality, a wildly intelligent caper.
Ben Marcus, author of Notes from the Fog
Holy shit, we are definitely not in Kansas anymore. And Farooq Ahmed is like no novelist this world has seen. Brutally funny and disruptive, Kansastan is a work of alternative history that finally seems more true, more real, and more painfully strange and sad, than the world it replaces.
Whitney Terrell, author of The Good Lieutenant
Imagine Kansas as a state with a grand mosque and a powerful Islamic tradition. Imagine a border war against the ruffian Missourians. A questionable savior. A group of zealous, devout Muslim fighters led by a man named Brown. That’s the world of Farooq Ahmed’s outstanding novel Kansastan. From the first line, Ahmed’s extraordinary literary and political mind makes this book feel inevitable, moving, and American in every way. Prepare to be amazed.
Michael Noll, author of The Writer’s Field Guide to the Craft of Fiction
In an America with a white supremacist president, where every day brings a previously unimaginable piece of news, I can think of no more fitting a novel than Kansastan, in which a young Muslim plots to take over his mosque and lead the parishioners into battle against Missouri. This is historical fiction/dystopian fantasy with a sense of humor as dry as a summer prairie wind.
Nina Shope, author of the novellas Hangings
Exhale as you say it: this is a book “for those who contemplate.” Bristling with mysterious blimps, six-legged steers, warlike Missourians, fields strewn with meat, and worm-lipped loves, Kansastan is part holy book, part slapstick fable, and wholly original. Prepare yourself for a world in which miracles beget murder, in which grandiose delusions bloom from decrepitude, in which cousin is pitted against cousin, Jayhawker against Bushwacker: prepare yourself for Kansastan. It is a joyful and deranged read.
Mike Harvkey, author of In the Course of Human Events
Farooq Ahmed’s epic yet intimate yarn about bloody border wars, false prophets, and the little mosque on the prairie is at once wholly believable and reminiscent of a new American myth. By slyly reimagining our nation’s darkest conflict, Ahmed has made everything I thought I knew about the U.S. of A. wildly, thrillingly new. When our Republic finally falls, a book will be plucked from the ashes, and its name will be Kansastan.