© 2021 KMUW
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Book Review

Book Review: The Book of Jonas


The Book of Jonas by Stephen Dau begins on a fateful night when the family of Jonas, a 15-year-old Muslim, is killed by Americans. Running for his life in the rugged mountains surrounding his home, Jonas is rescued by an American who dies the same evening. He is taken in by an international relief organization and adopted by a Christian family in Pittsburgh, Pa. As he and his new family do their best to find common ground, the dead American soldier’s mother, also coincidentally in Pittsburgh, is determined to uncover what happened to her son. 

Jonas is perplexed by his new family, but manages to adjust and even thrive in high school, allowing him entry to college. As he adapts to college life, he finds a disparate group of friends who listen to live jazz and spend nights exploring Pittsburgh. At first things go very well, but when confronted with his past by his girlfriend, Jonas avoids the real work of reconciliation by drinking heavily and walking the streets until he flunks out of school and only counseling and therapy save him.

Gradually, he discovers the story of what really happened to him and the American Soldier during his final days in his homeland. On this foundation, he builds a meaningful trajectory for his future. 
A powerful debut, The Book of Jonas builds images and emotions that linger long after you turn the last page.

The Book of Jonas
by Stephen Dau
Penguin Publishing