The day after the World Trade Center was destroyed, Tamim Ansary sent an anguished e-mail to twenty friends, discussing the attack from his perspective as an Afghan American. The message reached millions. Born to an Afghan father and American mother, Ansary grew up in the intimate world of Afghan family life and emigrated to San Francisco thinking he'd left Afghan culture behind forever. At the height of the Iranian Revolution, however, he took a harrowing journey through the Islamic world, and in the years that followed, he struggled to unite his divided self and to find a place in his imagination where his Afghan and American identities might meet.
West of Kabul, East of New York is 2008's selection for the San Francisco One City One Book program, an annual citywide event that encourages San Franciscans to read the same book at the same time and then discuss it in book groups and at events throughout the City.