Books

‘American Dervish’

In Ayad Akhtar’s haunting novel “American Dervish,” published in 2012, a young man looks back with regret at his role in the tragic demise of his first love. The story of a Muslim Pakistani-American family and their extended community in the Midwest explores faith and hypocrisy, the motivations for piety, and the clash of tradition and a liberal culture. The time is right to explore the multifaceted Akhtar’s work: this past week his play “Disgraced,” also about identity and religion, won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for drama.

Agnes Torres Al-Shibibi, Seattle Times desk editor

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Theater

‘The Trial’

Talk about ensemble dream casts! In New Century Theatre’s brilliant stage adaptation of Franz Kafka’s “The Trial,” the spotlight may be on the mysteriously accused Josef K. (Darragh Kennan). But the florid colors and humor of the production are supplied by his accusers and co-conspirators. Especially noteworthy: Amy Thone, as Josef’s fast-talking, wheelchair-whirling procrastinator of a lawyer; M.J. Sieber as a priest whose advice is anything but consoling; and Alexandra Tavarez as a sculptor with a taste for extreme decolleté who specializes in making busts of the accused. All are wizardly at obfuscating K.’s case as they painstakingly “explain” it to him, sending him further and further down his rabbithole. Through April 28 (www.newcenturytheatrecompany.org).

Michael Upchurch, Seattle Times arts writer

Drink

Sun Liquor

Forget those cocktail books and discounted coupon deals on bartending courses. The best way to learn about cocktails is to belly up to the bar and drink some. Every week, Sun Liquor, where all the bartenders hang out, offers three flights of cocktails ($10-$12) based on a spirit like gin or different takes on a classic like a Negroni. It’s a great way to learn, and even better, you get three drinks for the price of one. 607 Summit Ave E., Seattle (206 860-1130 or sunliquor.com).

Tan Vinh, Seattle Times staff writer