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UNIMAGINED - a Muslim boy meets the West

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March 21, 2010

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Imran Ahmad

I had to post this from a remote location using skeleton equipment -- hence the poor format!

First person to post a question wins a book!

Regards,

Imran

Wallace Edward

Imran, first let me say thanks for dong this! I've read Resolution 786 and your comments are spot on! All the rules changed with this one.

OK, for Mohamed: I had so many thoughts and questions both during and after the read. (This book definitely gets the thoughts going) Considering the number and depth of the questions (Is God good? Who's right, who's wrong with regard to religion? Is there a right and wrong?), have you ever considering making this novel available for book club discussions? I'd think some of those discussions could get pretty wild and intense. This seems a perfect book for those types of semi-regimented discussions.

Mohamed Mughal

Imran,
I realize how busy you are with your own writing and travel schedule. Thanks for squeezing in a read of "Resolution 786" during your flight from Dubai to Kuala Lumpur. And thanks, too, for hosting this blog tour. I can't wait to interact with your readers in London!

curious1


I saw so many reflections of Christ in the circumstances of Adam Hueghlomm's life.
I saw him, like Christ, overcome the three temptations in the desert and even the
stations of the cross near the end of the novel. Was that intentional on your part or is
it just circumstantial that I saw that?

Inna

Imran,

I've already hit the three question limit on my blog, and what a diverse set of interesting questions I've gotten here in Berlin, Germany. You can see them at

http://onionsandtea.blogspot.com/2010/03/let-blog-tour-begin.html

I thought I'd post this link to your blog so people who are following the tour can see what's already been asked and answered. I'm sure your blog's readers in London, England are going to build on the thought-provoking momentum of Resolution 786's first virtual book tour.

Have fun!

Dr. Mohamed Mughal

Dear Wallace,

First off, congrats on being the first person to post a question on Imran’s segment of the blog tour! :)

Truth be told, I’d never thought of using this novel as the basis for book club discussions until a friend of mine, Carol, mentioned the idea about a year ago. When you mentioned it again last night, I put on my thinking cap and asked myself: what questions could a book club consider after reading Resolution 786?

Here are a few that I came up with:

1. Is the Indictment of the Lord in Resolution 786 a fair document? Why or why not?


2. What religious identity (i.e. – agnostic, Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Pagan, etc.) best fits Adam Hueghlomm?


3. Most novels and other dramatic works have protagonists and antagonists, good guys and bad guys. Who are the bad guys in Resolution 786? Who are the good guys?


4. Does Becca love Adam? What makes you believe she does or doesn’t?


5. Is Resolution 786 anti-war? Why?


6. Is Resolution 786 anti-God? Why?


7. Based on the novel, what do you believe the author believes with regard to God?


8. In what ways, if any, are the circumstances of Adam Hueghlomm’s life like those of the life of Jesus of Nazareth?


9. How did you feel after finishing the novel (sad, hopeful, perplexed, angry, etc.) and why?


10. Page 29 makes reference to the Prophet Muhammad’s Jewish wife. Prior to reading Resolution 786, did you know that he had a Jewish wife? Were you surprised? Why or why not?


11. Are you comfortable with the author’s cubist style of volleying between the past, present and future?


12. By the time you reached the trial, did the writing immerse you to the point that you accepted the “fantastic arena” without a mental jolt?


13. What insights do you think that the author hopes you will gain from reading Resolution 786?


14. Which character(s) in Resolution 786 could you see yourself being friends with and what would be the nature of that friendship (i.e. studying colleague, hunting companion, romantic partner, etc.)?

Are these the types of questions that you had in mind? Any questions you think I should add?

Yep. You’re right, Wallace. Book club discussions based on these questions could certainly get pretty wild and intense! :)

Mohamed

Dear Curious 1,

I see you’ve followed the tour from Berlin to London. Do I have a groupie? If so, I love it! :)

You use the term “Christ,” an English adaptation, I believe, of the Greek “Khristos,” or “anointed one.” I don’t believe I ever use that term in Resolution 786. I do, however, create a strong thematic and symbolic association between my character, Adam, and the storied events of Jesus of Nazareth. Yes, when Adam and Becca trek through the powdered deserts of Utah, I did invoke a reflection of the three temptations that Jesus was subjected to in the deserts of Palestine: hunger, to tempt the Lord, all the kingdoms of the world.

Having personally walked the Stations of the Cross in Jerusalem, I couldn’t help but structure the final scenes of Resolution 786 as a progression through that sequenced series of events (it was done subtly, I thought, so I’m surprised that you picked up on it).

But there’s more.

The novel’s sub-title is written on the front cover so that the words form the shape of a crucifix. Adam leaves for Iraq and is due “to return” on Easter Sunday. Jesus is invoked during Adam’s encounter with the old man, Mohammed, in the dusty streets of Baghdad. The soldier, Lee, sees a crucifix appear over the shattered remains of a destroyed weapons warehouse during night-time combat operations. That same soldier concocts a “story” in a fit of angst in the soldiers’ Recreation Room, a story that, although told in vulgar expressions, is remarkably similar to the Passion Play.

Yes, Jesus “appears” in numerous instances and in numerous ways in the same novel that indicts the God of Abraham for Crimes Against Humanity.

What does it mean?

I’ve found that Jesus is somehow something different to different people. In the spirit of relativistic thought, I will let each individual reader decide the “meaning” of Jesus’ appearance in each instance. And remember, in Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, there are no privileged frames of reference. In the sense of relativity that you will apply to deduce the meaning of Jesus’ appearance in Resolution 786, there also are no privileged frames of reference. Your answer will be right for you.

And that is profoundly OK.

Sandy

I like the way you put words together. It's pretty and also poetic. You seem to write about macabre and bothersome parts of life like war, religious strife, death.
Will you ever write about the beauty of life?

Mohamed Mughal

Dear Sandy,

First off, thanks for the literary compliment! I work hard at the craft of writing. Sometimes I succeed. Many times I don’t.

Regarding my topical choices for writing - Life is a matrix of experiences. Literature is a fun-house mirror reflection of that matrix. It’s a mirror because ALL literature, no matter how speculative or outlandish, is SOMEHOW a manifestation and product of a human being’s/writer’s experience. The mirror’s a funhouse mirror because we writers contort and distort and reframe those life experiences into alternate images that are based on the original but modulated to fit the content and context of our particular piece of writing.

Adversity is the crucible in which our character is forged. As a child, I remember a soldier who came to our house in Kampala, Uganda while my father was at work and my mother was at home with my young brothers and me. The soldier made the point that we (Asian Indians) would soon have to leave Uganda and so my mother should let him inside so that he could take our belongings. Later than year, my family and relatives and many other Indians who had lived in Uganda for generations were deported to a refugee camp in Naples, Italy. We were there because of the color of our skin, our ethnicity.

Everyone’s character is created and tempered by their life experiences. When I sit to write, those seared impressions are the first to leap from my mind and into the blank computer screen. The world teems with “war, religious strife, death.” But yes, Sandy, it teems with beauty too.

Resolution 786 is a first novel. There will be more. As I write each successive work, perhaps I’ll have the good fortune of metabolizing the strife and discord that I’ve seen in the world. When all that is successfully exorcised through the cathartic cleanse of written expression, perhaps my last work will be the world’s greatest love story :). I hope it will.

Finally, I’m compelled to note that although Resolution 786 focuses primarily on themes of “love and war and God and lust and loss,” it is not completely void of beauty. When Becca indulges Adam by listening to his philosophical dirges, she does it not from topical interest, but rather, from love. When Lamech’s mother sends him an e-mail in Iraq assuring him that his room at home is the same as he left it, that it patiently awaits his safe return, she makes those statements from love. There is love in Resolution 786. And there is no greater beauty in life that the beauty of one being’s love and affection for another.

Charles Colley

Hi Mohamed, I'll start with telling your readers here that we know each other, in fact, we commiserate about our "writing careers" and where they will lead us. As you were kind enough to give me a great cover blurb for my novel, SISTERBABY'S MONKEY, I'd like to say the following to you, out loud, where people can take up my encouragement for you.

You feel that you story is so literary, so narrow in its focus and consequent readership that it would not have a chance of being picked up by a "real" publisher or a literary agent who saw the financial promise in it, even as every reader tells you how amazing is this story.

Like so many tales that are declined by mass marketing, the "dumbing down" effect of so much written and sold seems endless. When we read a story like yours that is so thought provoking, so personal to the writer and the reader that it causes endless feelings to errupt, in my case, years after I first read it, how can we say that it is not marketable, that it does not have a value in numbers of books sold, as people seek out the feelings, the provocations that you offer?

So here it is, my friend, not a further discussion of your early life and how it framed this tale, not another accolade regarding your intellect and your ability to "pluck one heart string" as I always say when reading any good work. Rather, a challenge to you in this forum, to bring this story to the masses, to go around the publishing establishment if need be, to not settle for small sales, and literate conversations, as uplifting as they may be, like this one.

You asked me once, back when we first met and exchanged novels, if my little company might be interested in publishing you someday. I said I was not ready for that concept yet, but now I am, particularly with the ebook/Kindle and other electronic media that I am exploring.

Even as I have my newest novel, a straight up commercial piece,that still has too much introspection by the main character, too much angst over her wounding when a nurse in the long ended Afghan war, and how it frames her in the present day, I still have hopes for the one you reviewed. I believe I can accomplish my goals for pecuniary success on the book stage, and I invite you to join me, beneath my little imprint, CHANA BOOKS-BEAUTIFUL BOOKS.

You have big things to say, my friend, and you should not hide your light beneath a bushel. Let it shine!

Charles Colley is a novelist in Maryland, USA, proud to call Mohamed his friend, regularly in awe at his advanced evolution as a human being, regularly feeling inept and less than in his presence, thankful for his friendship. You can find Charles on Facebook, Amazon and at www.charlescolley.com.

bedroom furniture

great man :D

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