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The Good Muslim [Paperback]

Tahmima Anam
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

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Book Description

19 May 2011
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 madrasa, the conflict between them 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.


Product details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd; Export & Airside ed edition (19 May 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847679749
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847679741
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.4 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,684,336 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

* A major new talent Observer * Tahmima Anam's startlingly accomplished and gripping novel describes not only the tumult of a great historical event... but also the small but heroic struggles of individuals living in the shadow of revolution and war. -- Pankaj Mishra On A Golden Age * Anam has done a service to her country ... No other writer has treated the subject with such clarity before, in English. Times Literary Supplement on A Golden Age * In this striking debut novel ... Anam deftly weaves the personal and the political, giving the terrors of war spare, powerful treatment. The New Yorker on A Golden Age * An assured, moving read The Times on A Golden Age * Beautifully told, intimate and touching; Anam has a knack for making you care so desperately for her characters that you admire their failings as much as their strengths. Daily Mail on A Golden Age * Anam's prose is glowing and graceful throughout; whether detailing the degradations of a refugee camp, the tenderness of an unexpected love affair, or the exhilarated dread of a nation in cataclysm. Guardian on A Golden Age * This is storytelling at its best ... A beautiful story of hope, heroism and human survival amid cruelty. Everyone should read this and learn. Daily Express on A Golden Age * The authenticity shines through Anam's beautiful, simple prose. Harper's Bazaar * My reader adored this and was happy to compare it with The God of Small Things and Brick Lane. Bookseller on A Golden Age

About the Author

Tahmima Anam was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in 1975. She grew up in Paris, New York and Bangkok, attended Harvard University, and now lives in London. Her writing has been published in Granta, the New York Times, the Guardian and the New Statesman. A Golden Age, her first novel, was the winner of the Commonwealth Writers' Best First Book Prize, and was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and the Costa First Novel Award.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly moving piece of writing 13 May 2011
By CJ Craig VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The Good Muslim by Tahmina Anam is a wonderful story about the birth of the Bangladeshi nation and the suffering endured to bring this about. Following the path of Maya we journey between her rebellious flight from home to work as a doctor in the rural parts of the country. Here she encounters the sufferings of desperately impoverished people caught up in the struggle for freedom. Maya devotes her service to pregnant women and endures many a fight with the conservative male population who fail to appreciate the need for maternal health care, both before and after birth.

Following a particularly difficult encounter Maya returns to her parental home and longs for the relationship with her brother, Sohail, who fought in the war, to be as it was before they went their separate ways. But Sohail has been hurt by his war time experiences and has sought refuge in a strict interpretation of Islam. This retreat from Maya and their mother intensifies when his wife dies. He seems to care little for his son, Zaid or his mother suffering from terminal cancer and this shocks Maya. Zaid's rescue from the madrassa ends in tragedy.

Beautifully written and covering the pain and bitter sweet aspects of most of our lives as we struggle with terminal illness, broken relationships, the judgement of others and the utter hopelessness felt when governments turn against their own people, Anam still brings us to hope.

Set in Bangladesh it is a refreshing read for those who know little about this country or its customs. While wholly familiar it also challenges the stereotypes and pre-judgements we unconsciously hold onto. A wonderful expression of our global village growing into mutual respect and understanding through the simple vehicle of a well-told story.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stunning second instalment of Bagladeshi trilogy 31 May 2011
By J. Coulton VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is the second novel in a trilogy by Tahmima Anam, which fuses the background to the creation of Bangladesh in 1971, with the deeply personal experiences of one family against the backdrop of that conflict, and the subsequent divisions which it creates both within the country as a whole, and within the family itself. It continues the story from her debut novel, the award winning and deservedly richly praised 2007 debut `A Golden Age'.

The story is of Maya, her brother Sohail, and their beloved mother. The siblings have taken very different paths in the conflict, and we return to them here as Maya is coming home to Dhaka after being a doctor for a decade in the north of their new country. She is an independent and confident woman, who still wants to remain true to her revolutionary self; as opposed to her brother, who has taken the path of Muslim fundamentalism. Maya has little time for his faith, and rebels against it, especially where his young son Zaid is concerned.

Maya cannot tolerate or forgive her brother's seeming abandonment of his son after his wife's death in favour of his fervent religion. But she is not allowed to really look after Zaid or educate him either. It is only later on in the story that some of the full horrors of Sohail's war experiences are revealed, and offered by way of an explanation for his behaviour and his devotion to his religion, and rejection of his previously held beliefs.

Anam again weaves a wonderful story, which tells of the personal journeys of the different family members, mainly from the point of view of Maya herself, and meshes that with a fascinating insight into the war that ravaged that country. It is deeply engrossing and powerfully engaging. But you do need to read the first part of the trilogy to make sense of the different threads that she is bringing together here. I only hope it is not another four years before we are treated to the final enriching instalment.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The second book in the Bangladesh trilogy 20 Nov 2012
By DubaiReader TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I have just come back from a book group where we discussed this book, and the overall impression was that the shifting time frames had caused quite a bit of confusion. Added to this was the fact that, within the more recent time frame, there were also flash-backs to the earlier time. Kindle readers, in particular, found this problematic.
However, I did learn a lot about Bangladesh, a country that rarely appears in fiction, and for this reason I gave the book four stars.

Although I had read the first book of the trilogy, A Golden Age, it was four years ago and I struggled to remember the details. Many of our book group members had not read the first book and felt that a short precis at the beginning would have helped. In addition, a brief history of the time would also have clarified certain points.

Rehana Haque was a central character in A Golden Age, where her children, Sohail and Maya, were young. Here we meet them in 1971, as the war for independence is ending and the soldiers and casualties of war make their way home. The second time frame is thirteen years later, when the long term effects of the war have stamped themselves on all the survivors.
Sohail has become devoutly Muslim, while Maya rejects all the trappings of religion. The relationship between these siblings is the central issue of the book and incorporates all the after-effects of war.
One of my favourite characters was Zaid, the mischievous, but lonely son of Sohail. Maya takes Zaid under her wing, but is unable to overrule Sohail when he decides that his son will be educated in a madrassa.

Although the war lasted only nine months, there were a million dead, ten million exiled and thousands of abused women left behind.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The Good Muslim
This is a truly incredible read. Should read A Golden Age first as this is the sequel. Great story, interesting, informative, stimulating. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Audrey Jones
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book
Interesting read, some insight to the history of Bangladesh, however felt I needed more information on the historical settings. Intriguing characters however.
Published 2 months ago by Nafisah Braimah
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant and powerful story
I recommend this book to American readers especially. We know so little about the history of other countries and the struggles of women and men for lives of dignity and... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Patricia O'Neill
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read
I read Tahmima Anan's 'A Golden Age' and was captivated by the story of a family, the story of a nation and the story of a different culture - her next book 'The Good Muslim'... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Christine may
5.0 out of 5 stars Super and interesting story
The tale continues to develop. I was unable to put the book down as I was wanting to see what happens next. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Diana Beresford
5.0 out of 5 stars very touching & poignant read
What I really like about Kindle 99p offers is that you read authors you have not come across before, and titles that you would not normally attract you. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Jeannie Brice
4.0 out of 5 stars An inside view of a different culture
Gives an insight into relationships within the Muslim culture. Family tensions involve the reader with the characters as they take individual routes to being a "good... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Mrs. Hazel P. Manley
3.0 out of 5 stars The follow up to 'A Golden Age'
In Bangladesh, 1984, a young doctor, Maya, returns to her childhood home and is reunited with her family after many years apart. Read more
Published 10 months ago by K. Wright
4.0 out of 5 stars Memorable Muslim
This is a book for those who want to experience the pain of revolution. It is a tough well written novel that mixes emotion with religious beliefs. Read more
Published 11 months ago by nickyb
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read
I just had to read this one after reading the first part. It is simply divine to read with explicit and intricate details. It is so emotional I ended up with tears. Read more
Published 12 months ago by naznin chowdhury
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