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.