Randolph Splitter

The Ramadan Drummer

The drummer of the title wakes the faithful during Ramadan in the predominantly Muslim neighborhood of Little Mecca so that they can have some food before beginning their daily fast. But in this culturally diverse American city he awakens believers and nonbelievers alike.

As anti-Muslim activists picket a community fair, shots ring out and a child is gravely wounded. Police detective Ezra Kaufman—who is dealing with the loss of his wife and seeking some kind of spiritual solace from his Jewish tradition—is assigned to investigate. In the course of his investigation he meets reporter Aisha Hassan, an observant though liberal-minded Muslim who is covering the same story.

At a party, the young daughter of a prominent Muslim family initiates a sexual encounter with an older teenage boy. Somebody posts photos of the incident on Facebook, and the girl disappears. Both Ezra and Aisha get involved.

A poetry-writing taxi driver has personal and financial issues. When self-appointed moral arbiters find a suspicious magazine in his glove compartment, he faces even more trouble.

Confronting misogyny, homophobia, and the tyranny of teenage cliques, rejecting both fundamentalism and intolerance, Ezra, Aisha, and the others learn that they must chart their own paths toward spiritual meaning and personal connection.

Selected Works

Novel
a wryly comic coming-of-age story that uses the model of our smart, sensitive primate cousins to take a closer look at adolescence, masculinity, and what it means to be human
a literary mystery about home, abandonment, and disconnection triggered by the discovery of a near-dead newborn in a trash can
Randolph Splitter's The Ramadan Drummer opens as a conventional (but compelling) mystery... At the same time, Splitter's mystery goes much deeper. In his novel, he explores questions of faith and fanaticism—and of love's ability to transcend both... The book soars because of its honest engagement with human complexity. —Mark Brazaitis, author of many books of fiction and poetry, including The River of Lost Voices: Stories from Guatemala, Julia & Rodrigo, and Truth Poker
      The Ramadan Drummer is an ingenious detective novel set in the contact zone of cultures in an unnamed American city, where violence is always possible but where humanity endures. Splitter tackles the great issues of our time with wit and vision, and I couldn’t put this novel down. —Elizabeth Mckenzie, author of Stop That Girl, MacGregor Tells the World, and The Portable Veblen

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