The Good Muslim
By Tahmima Anam
(Harper, Hardcover, 9780061478765, 304pp.)
Publication Date: August 2011
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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.
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.
- Who is “the good Muslim” of the title?
“Anam’s 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 writer’s gift is to make the unfamiliar understood. The Good Muslim succeeds in doing exactly that, and doing it well.”
“Throughout the novel’s extremes of violence and tragedy, Anam always allows the ultimate humanity of the characters to shine through.”
“Anam has a gift for tackling complex issues both personal and political.”
“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)
“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 tells a poignant, little-known story of a country often lost in the maze of global politics.”