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The Good Muslim Paperback – 3 May 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: CSA Telltapes (3 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847679757
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847679758
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 272,385 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'The narrative shimmers with poetry. Anam seems to be a novelist not so much luxuriating in the act of writing as in total control of it, using just the right words to create her stunning story' --Independent

'In this book of searing beauty, Tahmima Anam shows us a family searching for ways to navigate through the aftermath of war; in the process she takes us on an unforgettable journey through a young nation trying to define itself' --Kamila Shamsie, author of BURNT SHADOWS

'Powerful and ambitious, The Good Muslim more than fulfils the promises of Tahmima Anam's celebrated debut, A Golden Age' --Guardian

About the Author

Tahmima Anam was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Her first novel, A Golden Age, was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and the Costa First Novel Award, and was the winner of the 2008 Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book. She is also the author of A Golden Age. She lives in London.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By DubaiReader VINE VOICE on 20 Nov. 2012
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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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By CJ Craig VINE VOICE on 13 May 2011
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 By JuliaC VINE VOICE on 31 May 2011
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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