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    October 2011

    Gospel of a Cab Driver
    by Roger M. Ajluni


    BOOK DISCUSSION SCHEDULE

    MON OCT. 24 6:30 - 7:30 p.m. Bradner Library
    L 105

    TUE OCT. 25 1:30 - 2:30 p.m. Bradner Library
    L 105
    THU OCT. 27 1:15 - 2:15 p.m. Forum
    Hosted by: HUM 212 Class
    Instructor: Helen Ditouras
    F 530
    Panel Discussion
    THU NOV. 2
    1:15 - 2:15 p.m. VisTa Tech Center
    VT 550
    Meet the Author Event


    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.

     

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

     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.
     

    WEB RESOURCES
     
    Compiled by Wayne Pricer, Schoolcraft College Librarian

    1. Gospel of a Cab Driver, The Official Homepage

    2. Complete Coverage: The 9/11 Records (The New York Times)

    3. Understanding 9/11: A Television News Archive (The Internet Archive)

    4. Reclaiming Identity: Dismantling Arab Stereotypes (Arab American National Museum)

    5. How 9/11 Changed Fiction (The Economist)

    6. Remembering 9/11 (National Geographic)

    7. An Era in Ideas (The Chronicle of Higher Education)




    DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

    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?

     

    WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THE BOOK?
     
    We would like to hear from you! What did you think of Gospel of a Cab Driver? Please e-mail your thoughts, comments, and questions to: erybicka@schoolcraft.edu.
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    Debbee Sheppard,
    Oct 2, 2011, 7:56 AM