“[A] masterful debut . . . a novel of survival and longing and love, and in many ways a modern portrait of an artist as a young man . . . a book written for us, we Iranian Americans whom you don’t often hear about.”—Porochista Khakpour, The Washington Post (Best Books of the Year)
“A triumph . . . a book of astonishing accomplishment and bravery.”—Dina Nayeri, The Guardian
Winner of the Alex Award from the American Library Association
An Amerie’s Book Club Pick • A Phenomenal Book Club Pick
Growing up in the San Fernando Valley with his two brothers, all K wants is to be “a boy from L.A.,” all American. But K—the youngest, named after a Persian king—knows there’s something different about himself. Like the way he feels about his closest friend, Johnny, a longing that he can’t share with anyone.
At home, K must navigate another confusing identity: that of the dutiful son of Iranian immigrants struggling to make a life for themselves in the United States. He tries to make his mother proud, live up to her ideal of a son. On Friday nights, K attends prayers at the local mosque with Baba, whose violent affections distort K’s understanding of what it means to be a man and how to love.
When Baba takes the three brothers from their mother back to Iran, K finds himself in an ancestral home he barely knows. Returning to the Valley months later, K must piece together who he is, in a world that now feels as foreign to him as the one he left behind.
A stunning, tender novel of identity and belonging, I Will Greet the Sun Again tells the story of a young man lost in his own family, his own country, and his own skin. Staring down the brutality of being a queer kid and a Muslim in America, Khashayar J. Khabushani transforms personal and national pain into an unforgettable and beautifully rendered exploration of youth, love, family—and the stories that make us who we are.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
This bold coming-of-age novel explores the tension between wanting to belong and needing to be true to yourself. As the youngest of three Iranian American brothers living in a cramped Los Angeles apartment, K idolizes his siblings and misses his perpetually working mother. But K’s happy family memories fade as we get to know his father, a tyrant who gambles away the family’s resources, beats his boys, and eventually absconds with them to Iran. Our hearts were tied up in the brothers’ journey as they later return to L.A., only to face post-9/11 anti-Muslim bigotry. They each struggle to find themselves again, and for K, that means coming to terms with his queerness. The pages of Khashayar J. Khabushani’s audacious debut are rich with detail—sometimes aglow with sensory delight, other times darkened by deep anguish—but the uncertain longing of a boy desperate for understanding always rings true. K’s journey will stay on your mind and in your heart.
Khabushani's beautiful debut centers on K, an Iranian American boy who comes of age in 1990s and 2000s Los Angeles with his parents and two older brothers. His unemployed father, Baba, sees "a light" in K's eyes, which Baba takes to mean that K is destined for great things. But K, who narrates, is less certain about the direction of his life or where he belongs. Through a series of impressionistic episodes, such as the time he searched the ball pit at Chuck E. Cheese for lost coins, K recounts his efforts to "become the American boy I want to be." Then Baba takes his sons back to Iran, where he says, "Things will be better for us." They are not—especially when Baba sexually abuses K. After returning home to L.A., without Baba, K, now in middle school, imagines acting on his desires for his neighbor Johnny. As the years pass and his older brothers find their paths in life, K gets a job at McDonald's, where "the must of potatoes and sweat is permanently wedged into the tiles of the walls." After 9/11, K feels the wrath of Islamophobia. Khabushani renders K's experiences in poignant vignettes that speak to the young boy's sensitivity as he dreams of a better, albeit uncertain future. This heartrending tale will stay with readers.