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The Reluctant Mullah
The Reluctant Mullah
by Sagheer Afzal
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.85

4.0 out of 5 stars Dryly hilarious / intellectually enlightening, 29 May 2014
This review is from: The Reluctant Mullah (Paperback)
While its covers mark cross-dressing and bride-hunting as central themes, The Reluctant Fundamentalist offers much more. Coming to it without great expectations, I was surprised to find it both dryly hilarious (not laugh-out-loud, which isn't really my thing), intellectually enlightening, and finally tragic (in the best sense of the term). Afzal engages the reader with a relaxed praxis and a narrative that engages without being impossible to put down (which I find temporarily exciting but ultimately frustrating). His narrative approaches issues such as disaporic identity, generational discord, and the eternal quest for a 'suitable' partner in a well-formed, mature, and ultimately quite humorous way. More importantly, he also describes issues which receive relatively little attention in other writing but which are perhaps more important to a readership apart from his cultural background, including the diversity of Islamic identities and the nuances of attitudes to women.

Friendly Fire
Friendly Fire
by A.B. Yehoshua
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.26

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging, if aggressive, characters., 8 Jun 2012
This review is from: Friendly Fire (Paperback)
A thoroughly engaging read that really cracks the nuances of familial relationships - Yehoshua understands the irrationality of human emotions better than any author I've read in a long time. A fascinating insight into the Israeli psyche, and how the security situation continues to affect ordinary middle class Israeli families (a demographic usually ignored in Western writing about the Middle East). Got a bit emotionally worn down by the blunt, confrontational attitudes of many of the characters, but perhaps I need to stop expecting characters to be obsessed with colonial politesse...

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