Pieces of a Dream

Pieces of a Dream, by Wael Abdelgawad

Pieces of a Dream, by Wael Abdelgawad

The exciting new novel by Wael Abdelgawad, acclaimed by readers as “refreshing, exciting and much needed.”

Pieces of a Dream

Driving a taxi on the foggy streets of San Francisco, Iraq war veteran Louis Hedstrom is stuck in a rut so deep he can’t see the sun. He lives alone, has no friends and can’t bear to be touched. When he meets and gets to know an African-American Muslim woman named Khadija, and then a mysterious courier named Hassan, he begins a spiritual journey to Islam that leaves him shaken, challenges everything he thought he knew, and threatens to alienate him from his family forever.

Filled with romance, action and spiritual insight, Pieces of a Dream creates its own genre in a single stroke, taking Muslim fiction to a new level. Passionate, honest and funny, it is a book that can be enjoyed by readers of all faiths, and is one that will not be easily forgotten.

 

Get Your Copy Now:

On Amazon: PaperbackEbook

Other Options for Paperback Only:

Paypal: $14 ($10 plus $4 shipping):

 

By credit card / debit card on CreateSpace.com

Or send a check for $14 ($10 plus $4 shipping) to:

Wael Abdelgawad
6474 N. Poplar Ave.
Fresno, CA 93704

Excerpt:

Louis wondered if the Muslim woman would call for a ride, and if he’d manage to talk to her without messing it up. He was practically feverish with the desire to make a good impression. He had to keep telling himself to play it cool. There was just something about this lady – the way she stood with her back straight, ignoring the Civic Center chaos around her, clutching her briefcase tightly but still remaining dignified – that stirred his admiration and interest.

He’d picked her up last Friday and the Friday before, on Market Street at Jones, in front of a smoke shop just around the corner from where St. Boniface’s gave out food to the homeless.

Both times the woman had asked to be dropped off at 250 Montgomery Street, in the heart of the financial district. Louis wondered why she was out there in Civic Center, and what she did downtown. Maybe he’d ask this time.

Cabbies liked to say that a fare was a fare. This lady, though – there was something about her. He couldn’t get her out of his mind. She was beautiful, serene, feisty and sharp all at the same time, making everyone around her seem pale by comparison, like a tall ebony spear planted in the ground amid dry and broken shrubbery. Plus, she tipped well.

The first time he’d picked her up, the exotic black woman was wearing a dark blue woman’s suit and a light blue hijab. It was as if a slice of the Northern California sky had come down to earth and climbed into his cab. He guessed she was in her late twenties – the same age as Louis himself. He greeted her with, “As-salamu alaykum ma’am!” He prided himself on the fluency of his Arabic – something he’d learned in Iraq. He’d thought maybe the woman was African or Arab. You never knew.

The woman eyed him cautiously and replied, “Wa alaykum as-salam.”

“Kayf haliki?” Louis asked, and the woman laughed then.

“What are you, studying Arabic at City College?”

“I spent time in Iraq. Picked up some of the language.” Louis glanced at the rear view mirror and saw that the guarded look had returned to the woman’s face. She fell silent.

He wondered idly if a woman like that would ever be interested in a man like him. Lean and muscular, with close-cropped blond hair and a young face, he’d been called a pretty boy in the past. Women had always pursued him. But now he had scars on his left cheek, the left side of his neck, and his left arm and torso. Some guys, he knew, were proud of their battle scars, but Louis felt disfigured and ugly. Even the thought of romance made him want to shrink into himself like a snail threatened by a bird.

Who was he fooling? There was no place for a woman in his life. He didn’t like to be touched, he had no friends, and he slept on a futon on the floor. He was frozen in place, like a man he’d once seen being sucked into an Iraqi marsh, struggling but just sinking deeper.

A beautiful woman like this, interested in him? He snorted quietly at his own stupidity.

Nevertheless, he tried getting the conversation going again. Talking was better than thinking, which was always a dangerous pastime.

“Sorry about the smell in the cab,” he said. “It was like this when I picked it up this morning. I think it might be sage. I have no idea why someone would burn sage in here. Hey, did you know you can cook with sage? Tastes peppery.”

The woman ignored him. She leaned her head against the window and closed her eyes. For a moment he flattered himself with the thought that the woman felt safe enough in his cab to fall asleep. He wished that he could drive like this all day long, just letting her rest. She would wake up and realize that he had given up a sizeable portion of his working day to provide her with a temporary refuge. She’d be so grateful that she’d invite him out to dinner. Afterward she’d take him into her arms…
The fantasy ended when he realized that her destination was just ahead. “Ma’am?” he said softly. “We’re here.”

Reader Reviews:

“Hard to stop once started. MashaAllah. Written very well. No place I felt like story is dragging or getting boring. Written for Muslims but others, especially war veterans, can also relate to it.” – Khalid

“Very interesting. I found the characters believable and well developed. I think we need more Muslim fiction like this.” – Ra’ed

“Love the writing, the imagery is perfect. A thriller! Very curious as to how the author is familiar with military procedure and slang. Great imagery… can visualize everything as it happens… Curious as to the Islamic angle in this as well.” – Zari

“MashaAllah! I enjoyed (it) immensely.” – Amanda T.

“Shukran for sharing your stories with us, the characters flaws, struggles and desires are realistic and inspiring through their journey to Allah Taala.” – Ilhaam

“Salam Brother Wael, you write really well Mashallah! And this is coming from a lifetime thriller/mystery reader.” – Hamayoun

“Thank you for writing (this)… much needed on many levels.” – Amy

“Ma’Sha Allah. I rarely read books like this BUT you have got me hooked!” – Wazeed

About the Author:

Wael Abdelgawad holds three martial arts black belts, and loves science fiction, weight lifting and marble fudge ice cream. In his twenties and thirties he worked as a bike messenger, dispatcher, taxi driver and club bouncer in San Francisco, California. Some of his real life stories are too crazy to tell in anything but fictional form.

Seriously, though, Wael is a writer and web developer living in California. He is the founder of numerous websites including IslamicSunrays.com, IslamicAnswers.com and Zawaj.com, and is a staff writer for MuslimMatters.org. He is also the proud father of one daughter. He has written several online novels in the “Islamic fiction” genre.

Buy the Book:

On Amazon: PaperbackEbook

Other Options for Paperback Only:

Paypal: $14 ($10 plus $4 shipping):

By credit card / debit card on CreateSpace.com

Or send a check for $14 ($10 plus $4 shipping) to:

Wael Abdelgawad
6474 N. Poplar Ave.
Fresno, CA 93704

Interview With the Author

Question: As-salamu alaykum. First, how Islamic is this book? Is there anything inappropriate in it?

Answer: Wa alaykum as-salamu wa rahmatullah. The book is not an Islamic textbook of course, but I’d say it’s completely appropriate Islamically. You could call it a Muslim novel. It’s true that it depicts some feelings of affection between a non-Muslim man (Louis, the protagonist) and a Muslim woman, but it’s important to note that these feelings are never acted on. The Muslim woman sets boundaries and respects her deen. Furthermore, the romance is really not the main focus of the novel. It is about Louis’s spiritual journey toward Islam and the obstacles he encounters along the way.

Question: So would you say this book is appropriate for kids, or for a school curriculum.

Answer: Yes, I think it would make excellent reading for a high-school curriculum in an Islamic school, and could spark some interesting discussions. I also feel Pieces of a Dream would do well as required college reading. There’s not enough quality Islamic fiction out there. In many ways it’s an emerging genre, and I think it’s important for creative Muslims to see that there is a market for their work.

The only reason I exclude younger kids is that there are a few flashbacks to Louis’s time in the Iraq war, and those scenes include some violence.

Question: How did you get the idea for this book?

Answer: I was a taxi driver in San Francisco myself back in my early thirties. In 2012 or so, I had an idea: what if a non-Muslim taxi driver, a man suffering from PTSD from his experiences in Iraq, met a Muslim woman? And what if he fell in love with her, and their meeting sparked the beginning of a spiritual journey in him?

That’s how it works for me. I get an idea, and that idea becomes the seed that turns into something larger. Often what ends up is something I never envisioned at the beginning. I didn’t necessarily set out to specialize in Muslim fiction. I just write about characters I like and believe in, and they happen to be Muslims.

So I wrote it up as a short story that was published on MuslimMatters. After that, however, many readers had questions about Louis’s family. How did they react to his interest in Islam, and what was it like for him? So I finally expanded the short story into a full length novel.

Question: Are there other books on the horizon?

Answer: Yes, I expect this to be a busy year Insha’Allah. I’m already serializing Zaid Karim Private Investigator – another “Muslim novel” – on MuslimMatters.org. I also intend to publish a sci-fi novel (it’s already written, just awaiting typesetting and cover design) as well as a book of poetry and a collection of Islamic essays, Insha’Allah. I’d also like eventually to tackle my other stories on MuslimMatters and put them out as novels.

If readers have any other questions, feel free to contact me. Also, please buy Pieces of a Dream, and leave reviews on Amazon.com. Here are the links again:

On Amazon: PaperbackEbook

Other Options for Paperback Only:

Paypal: $14 ($10 plus $4 shipping):

By credit card / debit card on CreateSpace.com

Or send a check for $14 ($10 plus $4 shipping) to:

Wael Abdelgawad
6474 N. Poplar Ave.
Fresno, CA 93704

2 thoughts on “Pieces of a Dream

  1. Ajaz Mubarak says:

    Thrilling novel from beginning to end. Caught me by surprise. Some of the “Muslim fiction” I’ve read in the past was either poorly written, or focused exclusively on romance, or it demeaned Islam and Muslims. It’s a pleasure to read a novel with characters who are practicing Muslims and still dealing with real-life issues. I hope to see more from you soon IA.

    • Ajaz, thank you so much for your comment and I’m glad you enjoyed the novel. I know what you mean about the Islamic fiction genre, but I do think there’s a lot of good work out there and you should continue to check out other Muslim authors. Sadly, if you search the phrases “Muslim fiction” or “Islamic fiction” on Amazon you get a lot of Islamophobic books. But this is the world we live in.

      Again, great to hear from you.

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