Gospel of a Cab Driver
ABOUT THE BOOK
Gospel of a Cab Driver is the story of Zechariah, an illegal immigrant and the son of a Muslim father and a Jewish mother. It is also the tale of America’s recent political, religious, and cultural entanglements. Set around the events of September 11, 2001, the novel addresses themes of identity, geopolitics, and cultural and religious tolerance—all within the frame of a love story.
Roger M. Ajluni, M.D., was born in Palestine and moved to the U.S. in 1954. He lives and practices medicine in Michigan. He and his wife have four children. Gospel of a Cab Driver is his first novel.
Compiled by Wayne Pricer, Schoolcraft College Librarian
Prepared by Helen Ditouras, Schoolcraft College Instructor
1. In his note to the reader, Roger M. Ajluni describes his characters in the following way: “The names are fictitious, but the characters and their narratives are deeply rooted in the events of recent history.” Provide examples from his novel to illustrate this point.
2. Throughout the novel, Zechariah engages in various dialogues with Paul the Apostle. What role does St. Paul play in the novel? How do St. Paul’s experiences reflect upon Zechariah?
3. When Zechariah and Jennifer meet for the first time, they both seem to hold stereotypical assumptions regarding the other. What are these cultural stereotypes? Are they accurate? Why or why not?
4. Upon meeting, Dr. Atwater and Zechariah form an instant connection, despite their different ages, occupations, and cultural backgrounds. What is this connection? How does their relationship further develop throughout the novel?
5. At the onset of the novel, we are introduced to Samir and Zechariah, who on more than one occasion describe their relationship as one of two ‘brothers.’ However, as the novel unfolds, their relationship begins to change. In what way are Samir and Zechariah both similar and different from one another? Explain.
6. In the beginning, Jennifer is skeptical of Zechariah for a number of reasons. What are those reasons, and how does her opinion of him slowly begin to change?
7. Zechariah is of both Jewish and Muslim descent and an immigrant from Palestine. How is his allegiance to both of his parents compromised throughout the novel? How does he attempt to reconcile these differences?
8. When the violence of 9/11 erupts, both Jennifer and Zechariah are horrified and transfixed. How is Jennifer's reaction different from Zechariah’s? How does Zechariah’s status in the United States immediately make him a target?
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