Timi, a boy in Uzbekistan, navigates a strange world of camel breeding, half-understood Islamic doctrine, Mexican soap operas dubbed into Uzbek, and the legacy of widespread pollution from the Soviet era, all while dreaming of doing death-defying stunts on his rickety motorcycle.
Ochsner said the tale was born through a conversation she had with a Christian non-governmental organization worker who had converted from Islam. In the story, Timi is mentored by a former Muslim turned Baptist NGO. He is eventually confronted with a difficult decision. Does he follow in his family’s traditional Muslim faith or does he choose to follow Jesus Christ, which would cost him his family and possibly mean criminal charges under Uzbek law?
“This is a story about faith,” Ochsner said. “About finding it, losing it and finding it again. The characters ask themselves why they have faith. Is it inherited or is it their own?”
“Pleased to be Otherwise” is available for .99 cents in Kindle format as part of the “Ploughshares Solos” series of stories.