Publishers Weekly Rave Review of “Ramadan Blues”: Short Story by Wajahat Ali

“Ramadan Blues” can be read here:

Pow Wow: Charting the Fault Lines in the American Experience—Short Fiction From Then to Now
Edited by Ishmael Reed and Carla Blank. Da Capo, $19.95 (503p) ISBN 9781568583426
With help from writers such as Benjamin Franklin, Grace Paley and Wanda Coleman, novelist/poet/essayist Reed puts together a captivating, multifarious look at the American experience through its short fiction (a “cousin” to his lauded poetry anthology From Totems to Hip-Hop). From the ins and outs of a young Latino’s struggle in an Anglo-dominated Catholic school (Nash Candelaria’s “The Day the Cisco Kid Shot John Wayne”) to Haight Street during the Summer of Love (“Wormwood” by Conyus), Reed’s selections will draw readers into American cities, suburbs, prairies and mountains with vivid, precise, at times documentary description and bold, personal questions of American identity and purpose. At the same time, the overwhelming role of love, loss, and growth can render them almost allegorical; a perfect example is Wajahat Ali’s “Ramadan Blues,” in which a young boy is first introduced to the traditional holiday fast. The boy’s fear and self-deprecation over his meager battle with hunger balance the personal detail and honesty of the autobiographical with the sweep of America’s religious legacy. A “gathering of voices from the different American tribes,” this highly varied collection doesn’t neglect important works from the likes of Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, George S. Schuyler, Gertrude Stein and Mark Twain. (Feb.)

RAMADAN BLUES: A Short Story by Wajahat Ali


POW-WOW: American Short Fiction from Then to Now

Edited by Ishmael Reed and Carla Blank

Notice of Copyright Protection Under the Laws of the United States

© 2009 by Wajahat Ali

Wajahat Ali

RAMADAN BLUES featured in POW-WOW, available January 26th, 2009

“I promise.”

The young boy – ashamed, dishonored, and fearing the wrath of a vengeful, omnipotent Allah – promised his Pakistani immigrant father with conviction and resolve.

“I promise not to eat during my fast. I will only eat at maghrib, after the sun sets, with every other fasting Muslim.”

This previous promise fell victim to a delectable and treacherous “M & M.” Like Eve and her apple, the young boy discovered his “fall from grace” stuck to the inner linings of his Husky pants’ pocket covered with a still edible chocolate-y goodness. His first attempt at fasting was hijacked by a stale, melted candy. Continue reading