Friday, 12 August 2011

The Good Muslim by Tahmima Anam


DATE READ: July 2011

NOTES: This is the follow-up book to Tahmima Anam’s excellent A Golden Age. It follow the story of Maya and Sohail and their mother Rehana and what happened to them after the end of the Bengali War of Independence.

She uses the narrative device of two different time lines: the first in the immediate aftermath of the war in 1972 and the second in 1984. She shows how all have been affected by the war in different ways. Maya is cynical about the way things have turned out and is shocked and confused by her brother Sohail and his devout adherence to Islam. But even though she counts herself as an unbeliever she finds herself drawn into the spiritual atmosphere of the female followers of Sohail.

Feelings of despair about the new state of Bangladesh run through the book but fortunately there is a redemptive ending. The one false note in the plotting was Sohail’s attitude to his young son Zaid whom he treats with disdain and neglect.

The Good Muslim is beautifully written – and tells a good story.

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