Diana Abu-Jaber’s novel Arabian Jazz (1993) recounts the interplay of many identities. It employs Magical Realism to tell the story of Jemorah and Melvina Ramound, Arab Americans who live in a poor white community. Their aunt continues to try to arrange for a marriage between Jemorah, who does not want to be thus married, and a cousin in Jordan. Abu-Jaber’s father was a pilot in the Royal Jordanian Air Force, her mother a European American Catholic. Her family, she has stated, comprised “a great jumble of cultures and religions . . . each segment fairly insistent on its unique identity.” Arabian Jazz was praised by critics and won an Oregon Book Award in 1994.
The Islamic version of Adam and Eve’s banishment from Paradise was initiated by the clever Iblis; a children’s version of this story is enhanced by Ed Young’s illustrations in Iblis (1994), as retold by Shulamith Levey Oppenheim. The Tales from the Land of the Sufis (1994; translated by Mojdeh Bayat and Mohammed Ali Jamnia) deals with relationship to self, relationship to society, and relationship to God. The stories often have sad endings and have a didactic purpose. The classic Twilight in Delhi (1940) by Ahmed Ali (a story writer, poet, translator, and critic) incorporates many important aspects of Islam in daily life.
The encounter of traditional Islam with Western secular modernism is represented in many works by Turkish woman writer Resat Nuri Guntekin. Other works on this topic include Zuqaq al-Midaqq (1947; Midaq Alley, 1966, 1975), by the Egyptian Nobel Prize-winner Naguib Mahfouz, which depicts daily life in Egypt, and his Bayna al-qasrayn (1956; Palace Walk, 1990), which describes the decline of traditional Islamic social values in the years 1917-1919.
Sadly, a substantial amount of Islamic literature has not been translated into English. Perhaps the most widely read book written in English that may be said to reflect Islamic mysticism is The Prophet (1923), by Lebanese American Kahlil Gibran.