Tariq is not sure where he really belongs or where he would rather be. School brings tedium at best, taunts and threats at worst. At home he can’t seem to please his increasingly devout father or dispel his mother’s growing dislocation and her creeping distance from her husband. Tariq’s only solace is music, be it the classical pieces from class or the choubi songs passed on by his uncle Rahim. The only ally of his own age is Rachel, his Jewish classmate. She will not let Tariq’s Islamic Iraqi background define how she – or the wider community – sees him.
Shamed and sore from an embarrassing beating, Tariq forms a new friendship with the volatile but intriguing record-shop owner, Jamal, who helps Tariq discover the world of jazz. Amidst the dust and grooves of the vinyl, in the glow of Coltrane’s amber sound, Tariq senses, for the first time, the different possibilities that are his to decide and fashion.
But when the violence, long simmering in the atmosphere, finally erupts, Tariq is forced to navigate a delicate path between family, friends and faith. He takes the ultimate risk – for his friend and for his enemy equally – and the disparate worlds of modern America and traditional Islam come together in an unexpected and gripping resolution.
Peace and violence, faith and mistrust, thriller and literary fiction – this is a supreme story of a young man caught between two worlds.
Siobhán Parkinson of Little Island, publisher, says, ‘Kevin Stevens is one of Ireland’s best-kept secrets. He is a very fine writer with an ear for the rhythms of language; he has a well-tuned empathy with people whose concerns are often pushed to the margins by western culture; he is passionate about the power of music to nourish the human spirit. He has brought all these concerns to A Lonely Note, and the result is an utterly beautiful novel about growing up male and Muslim in modern America.’
A Lonely Note
Author: Stevens, Kevin
Reading Age: 13+ Teenage YA
Publisher: Little Island
Number of pages: 250
Tariq is not sure where he really belongs or where he would rather be. School brings tedium at best, taunts and threats at worst. At home he can’t seem to please his increasingly devout father or... Read more
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