Jackson Heights in this book is a fictional locale with common features assembled from immigrant-friendly neighborhoods around the world where hardworking honest-to-goodness traders from the Indian subcontinent, rub shoulders with ruthless entrepreneurs, reclusive antique-dealers, homeless nobodies, merchant-princes, lawyers, doctors and IT specialists. But as Siraj and Shabnam, urbane newcomers fleeing religious persecution in their homeland discover there is no escape from the past. Weaving together the personal and the political The Good Muslim of Jackson Heights is an ambiguous elegy to a utopian ideal set free from all prejudice.
About the Author
Jay Birjépatil taught English Literature at Marlboro College in Vermont. He was born in the city of Baroda, India, when it was an elegant princely capital. His background includes private schooling and academic training (MA.,Ph.d) at the University of Manchester (UK) and (Post Doc) Yale.Before settling down in Vermont he taught at M.S. University, Baroda and Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. He is the author of Beyond The Axle Tree, a study of T.S. Eliot and has contributed articles to scholarly journals in India, England and the United States. At Manchester Jay also trained in theatre and directed plays at Brown and Marlboro College. In 1965 he was selected to play a tiny role in an experimental film called The White Bus directed by Lindsay Anderson.
His first novel, Chinnery’s Hotel, was published by Bodiam Books (U.K) and by Ravi-Dayal-Penguin India. The Good Muslim of Jackson Heights released in the US by Fomite was earlier published by Ravi Dayal-Penguin, India. His short stories have been included in The Way We Were: an Anglo-Indian Anthology and in the fiction issue of South Asian Review. His poetry has appeared in Critical Quarterly and Acumen in England and in an anthology of Indian Poetry in English, edited by Kaiser Haq for Ohio State University Press.