Synopses & Reviews
From prizewinning Bangladeshi novelist Tahmima Anam comes her deeply moving second novel about the rise of Islamic radicalism in Bangladesh, seen through the intimate lens of a family.
Pankaj Mishra praised A Golden Age, Tahmima Anam's debut novel, as a "startlingly accomplished and gripping novel that 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." In her new novel, The Good Muslim, Anam again deftly weaves the personal and the political, evoking with great skill and urgency the lasting ravages of war and the competing loyalties of love and belief.
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.
"Repercussions from the Bangladeshi war of independence ricochet through the Haque family in this gripping and beautifully written sophomore novel from Anam (A Golden Age). On his way back to Dhaka after the war in 1971, Sohail Haque stops at a barracks recently occupied by the retreating army, where he opens a door onto a horrible scene. When he arrives home transformed, his mother, Rehana, is alarmed by the change in her once carefree son and begins reading to him from the Koran. Maya, his sister, struggles to understand her brother's trauma, even as her work performing abortions for the Bangladeshi women who were raped by soldiers shows her another aspect of the war's aftermath. Sohail becomes an increasingly devout Muslim, while Maya starts a clinic in a distant village where, after delivering an imperfect baby, she is driven away. She returns to find that her brother's son, Zaid, is unkempt and poorly educated, old friends have grown affluent and complacent, and her mother has ovarian cancer. Maya begins writing increasingly inflammatory political articles and attempting to educate her nephew while her mother's health worsens and her brother withdraws further into his religion. From historical, political, and social tragedy, Anam has fashioned a mesmerizing story capturing a culture and a time, while showing that despite the worst, people go on to live their lives. (Aug.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“Anam tells a poignant, little-known story of a country often lost in the maze of global politics.” Booklist
“Throughout the novels extremes of violence and tragedy, Anam always allows the ultimate humanity of the characters to shine through.” Kirkus
“Anam seems to be a novelist not so much luxuriating in the act of writing as in total control of it, using the right words to create her stunning story.” Arifa Akbar, The Independent
“Anam has a gift for tackling complex issues both personal and political.” Library Journal
“Gripping and beautifully written. . . . From historical, political, and social tragedy, Anam has fashioned a mesmerizing story capturing a culture and a time.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Anams fluent prose and sharp insights are at their best when the narrative strays . . . into the surreal ways in which faith and love work-and sometimes fail.” The New Yorker
“The Good Muslim brims with gripping narrative, absorbing history and Shakespearean moral conundrums. . . . A keen examination of survival and forgiveness.” Los Angeles Times
“Anam has an eye for culture, and for cultural dissonance. The writers gift is to make the unfamiliar understood. The Good Muslim succeeds in doing exactly that, and doing it well.” Denver Post
“Delicate, heart-wrenching and poetic, this is a novel ofgreat poise and power.” —Tash Aw, author of The Harmony Silk Factory
Set in Bangladesh at a time when Islamic fundamentalism ison the rise, The Good Muslim is an epic story about faith, familyand the long shadow of war. Tahmima Anam, the prize-winning author of A Golden Age, offers a moving portrait of a sister and brother whostruggle with the competing loyalties of love and belief as they cope with thelasting ravages of war and confront the deeply intimate roots of religiousextremism. Echoingthe intensity and humanity of Thrity Umrigars The SpaceBetween Us, Abraham Vergheses Cutting for Stone, and Kiran Desais TheInheritance of Loss,Anams “accomplished and gripping novel,” in thewords of author Pankaj Mishra, “describes not only the tumult of a greathistorical event, but also the small but heroic struggles of individuals livingin the shadow of revolution and war.”
About the Author
Tahmima Anam was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and grew up in Paris, Bangkok, and New York. She holds a Ph.D. in social anthropology from Harvard University. Her writing has been published in Granta, the New York Times, the Guardian, and the Financial Times. A Golden Age, her first novel, was the winner of the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book. She lives in London and Dhaka.