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Book Title: The Good Muslim|
The author of the book: Tahmima Anam
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 828 KB
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Reader ratings: 6.7
Edition: Canongate Books
Date of issue: 2011
ISBN 13: 9781847679758
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“Suffering is a gift. In it is hidden mercy.”
Tahmima Anam, an award-wining Bangladeshi author, has penned a soul touching and a highly poignant historical fiction surrounding a family torn between the after-effects of war, politics and family love in her book, The Good Muslim which is the second book in her Bangladesh series. This story opens with the daughter who goes into exile for seven long years to study medicine and to open up her own practice as a doctor, returning back to her hometown where her old mother is still waiting for her and her ex-soldier brother is vouching towards the narrow philosophy of his religion's preaching, thereby creating a gap stronger than their years of distance between the brother and the sister.
In the dying days of a brutal civil war, Sohail Haque stumbles upon an abandoned building. Inside he finds a young woman whose story will haunt him for a lifetime to come. . . . Almost a decade later, Sohail's sister, Maya, returns home after a long absence to find her beloved brother transformed. While Maya has stuck to her revolutionary ideals, Sohail has shunned his old life to become a charismatic religious leader. And when Sohail decides to send his son to a madrasa, the conflict between brother and sister comes to a devastating climax. Set in Bangladesh at a time when religious fundamentalism is on the rise, The Good Muslim is an epic story about faith, family, and the long shadow of war.
Maya has just returned back from the city after seven long years serving as a war doctor, only to find out that the war has changed so much in her family, despite of her brother's wife's death. Her mother has been waiting for her daughter for the past seven years is finally happy to have her daughter back. Whereas Sohail, Maya's brother has changed a lot, as he has become more of a religious man and finds almost no time for his little son, Zaid. Unfortunately Maya fails to reconnect with her ex-soldier brother who has found solace in the fundamentals of Islam, on other hand, Maya develops a bond of friendship with the little child who is hungry for a bit of love for his parents or from his elders. Maya also reconnects with her brother's long time ago friend, Joy, who used to live in the US during the war, and with the help of Joy, Maya reunites with all her friends. Little did Maya knew that she has to pay a heavy price for a grave mistake that will put a never-ending gap between her and her brother, when Sohail sends away his son to a madrasa in an isolated island, run by some religious fundamentalists. Although, in the mean time, during Maya's mother's sudden illness, it forces her to find peace in the beliefs and comfort of the holy book and its teachings, and also serving as an activist for all those who have suffered from the war.
After reading this book that is midway between a family sag trilogy, I'm desperately vouching to get my hands on the first and the third book, as this book brought tears to my eyes. The author has penned the story with utmost brilliance and vividness and with such depth, that it opened my eyes, my mind and my heart towards a forgotten era and the pain of the people in those times. Even though this is a fictional story, but it is very much inspired from the real-life stories and it has left my heart bleeding from the pain that I felt after reading this book. In short, I call this type of books as "masterpiece" where the author serves as the lord, showing her readers, who are the shepherds, the right way back into the past.
The author's writing is emphatic and extremely eloquent and it is laced with strong, heart felt emotions that will move the readers deeply. The narrative is inspired from the local dialect but that is easy to comprehend with for the readers of any mother tongue. Also the dialogues are catchy, engaging and free flowing. Right from the very first page, the story is so compelling that it will suck the readers into its deepest, darkest depth of the story line. The pacing is smooth and moderate, as there are so many events that unfold strikingly with careful descriptions that will help the readers to visualize and feel, right from the scenes to the emotions behind it.
The author arrests the backdrop of Bangladesh and its landscape quite evocatively through her poetic prose and exquisite words. The readers are in here for a treat, if they have never before visited this simple yet fascinating land in their life, and will make nostalgic to those who live or used to lived there once upon a time. I think this book is strongly recommended to those whose mother land or the roots of heritage lies in Bangladesh, but had to leave this land after the India-Pakistan-Bangladesh partition. The author here paints a vivid and a charming portrait of Bangladesh during the late 20th century when it was under a dictatorship rule, with its rugged terrain, green flora, the grayish rivers that smell like home and its warm and homely people, with the then culture and religious limitations.
The characters in this book are like diamonds in the rough, ordinary but shine with their uniqueness, honesty and realism. The main character, Maya, is a sad yet brave woman who during the 80s and in a land dominated by Islamic preaching, managed to live by her own rules by becoming a doctor and not settling down to the domestic responsibilities by becoming someone's wife. Maya's quest to befriend and find support in her brother is a journey with challenges, sorrow and grief, and her determination will keep the readers rooting for her till the very heartbreaking end. The rest of the supporting characters reflect their brilliance through their authentic and interesting demeanor. And the readers will find a strong connection to each and every character present in the book as their stories are real and extremely relatable.
In a nutshell, this is an intriguing, enlightening yet painful story that will make the readers ache for the characters in the end, and will also fill their hearts with a sense of respect and love for their families, as the author strongly portrays the meaning of having a family through this story.
Verdict: A must read novel for one and all.
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Read information about the authorTahmima Anam was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh in 1975. She was raised in Paris, New York City, and Bangkok. Renowned satirist Abul Mansur Ahmed is her grandfather.
After studying at Mount Holyoke College and Harvard University, she earned a PhD in Social Anthropology.
Her first novel, A Golden Age, was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and the Costa First Novel Prize, and was the winner of the 2008 Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book. It was translated into 22 languages.
Her writing has been published in Granta, The New York Times, and the Guardian.
She lives in London.
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