The Good Muslim

From The Telegraph:

Muslim-cover_1882637f This novel is the second part of a projected trilogy that began with Anam’s acclaimed first novel, The Golden Age, but can also be appreciated without the earlier work, once you familiarise yourself with some basic facts about Bangladesh’s war of independence. Anam’s incorporation of the back stories of a widow named Rehana Haque and her two adult children, a daughter Maya and a son Sohail, is not only light-handed, but also gives these main characters incredible solidity. The book hinges on two homecomings to Dhaka: Sohail’s return from nine months of fighting in 1972, and Maya’s 1984 return from seven years as a “crusading” doctor in a northern village. There are brilliant mirror-scenes, such as each sibling's awkward attendance at suburban parties where they feel alienated by everyone else’s frivolity.

The two time strands on which the book balances create the suspense of discovering how they will converge. There are some half-hearted attempts to shift the narrative perspective between brother and sister, but this novel is really Maya’s story – only in the prologue and denouement do we enter Sohail’s consciousness. Despite its title, the themes are less about faith or morality than the personality traits common to radicals and idealists. It is about the differences between citizens and rebels, and those contradictory elements within us all.

More here.

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