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Unimagined: A Muslim Boy Meets the West Hardcover – October 1, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Aurum Press (October 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845132289
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845132286
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 5.1 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,244,740 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"The best books of 2007.”  —The Independent

"The pick of the literary crop 2007."  —The Sydney Morning Herald

"Books of the year."  —The Guardian

"A forthright, wry, entirely enjoyable memoir."  —Kirkus Reviews


"Best non-fiction read of 2007."  —dovegreyreader

"Best books of 2007."  —The Belfast Telegraph

Shortlisted for the YoungMinds Book Award 2007

"Paperback of the week."  —The Guardian



"Wonderfully funny, heart-warming, perceptive, enlightening and ironic . . . His episodic story of coming to terms with the ways of the West is reminiscent of Adrian Mole, with echoes of White Teeth, but it has its own unique voice . . . endearing, deadpan humour . . . Likely to be a word-of-mouth hit . . . has the makings of a slow-build bestseller."  —Publishing News 
 

“Hurrah for a memoir that isn't miserable!  Hurray for Imran Ahmad’s terrific sense of humor . . . an entertaining, moving and thoroughly thought-provoking tale of our times.”  —The Daily Mail



“Wonderfully evocative and strangely touching.”  —The Sunday Times

"Deserves all the praise it's had—it's very clearly and vividly written . . . funny and perceptive."  —Phillip Pullman, author, His Dark Materials trilogy

"My favourite book of 2007."  —Anne Widdecombe, Member of Parliament

"Beautifully written, funny and endearing, and in its own quiet way, important."  —Sue Townsend



"Very funny."  —John Pienaar, BBC

"Beguiling and insightful."  —Sue Cook

"Just beautiful."  —Antonella Gambotto-Burke

"I consumed Unimagined as soon as I started it. I couldn't wait until the plane ride. It was an absolute joy to read. I loved every moment of it."  —Randa Abdel-Fattah, author, Does My Head Look Big in This?

About the Author

Imran Ahmad was born in Pakistan, grew up in London, and went to university in Scotland. This is his first book.

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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I never really understood this until I read this book.
Sebb
You can enjoy it from different angles, and approach it with different attitudes.
Alicia Hills
I thought the book was very well written, funny and extremely interesting.
Pamela K. Burdick

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A. M. Terry on September 21, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This highly readable book has already been greeted with praise and enthusiasm in the UK, where it has been compared by many reviewers to the ever-popular diaries of Adrian Mole. However, although Unimagined uses an engaging and hilarious innocence to describe the confusions of adolescence and early adulthood, that's about where the similarity ends.

Because the author shows us what it was like to grow up as a Pakistani Muslim in London in the 1960s and '70s, the book has also been described as a touching account of overcoming racism. Yet, although social injustice is inevitably an occasional theme, the focus really isn't on personal hardship. Indeed, there are plenty of jokes at Imran's own expense as we see his own assumptions constantly overturned. Far from being an angry victim, he pokes fun at our common tendency to jostle for social acceptance by looking down at others, and to deny other beliefs as a way of cementing our own insecure understanding of life.

The real story of this book is a search for the truth about what it means to be human: our relationship with ourselves, with each other, and with God. Struggling to answer such questions logically, as would befit his scientific training, is a source of endless (and amusing) frustration: no sooner does Imran reach a conclusion than it is undermined by some new and unexpected piece of information. He finds that it is only through personal, direct experience that the answers to the Big Questions start to piece together - and these are revealed gradually, as surprising conclusions that the author can no longer avoid, even if they make him feel foolish for his earlier stance.

Many books describe a vision of unified humanity, but present this as an ideal concept without showing how we might ever reach such a goal.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Gloria Tiller on March 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This author's life story weaves threads of cultural, religious and class differences while he was growing up in London. It was a time of extreme racism and class separations. He begins to wonder about why he is different, even when he feels like he is the same as his fellow students and friends. He has trouble understanding Christmas break at school and the importance of gift giving. He wonders about the fuss from his parents because he liked the Spam served at school lunch.

Now as an adult, he still wonders about differences in people's cultural or religious belief and what makes us all human and brings us together.

Imran tells his story with a dry wit and humor that shows how children are shaped and mature into their beliefs.

The author has grown up believing in Muslim's gentle way, while being immersed early in life into Western culture. He finds his balance with humor and understanding human behavior.

Imran's debut book was published in Great Britain in 2007. The book has now become available in the U.S. and the author is making his way across the country spreading the message within these pages of his memoir.

He has a daunting task of giving 40 talks in 50 days traveling from Michigan to New York, Florida and California and states in-between.

I had the good fortune to be the bookseller at one of his first talks. He tells the journey of getting published and how the publisher's rejection letters thought the story would be more interesting if he had turned out to be a "terrorist".

Another story was from his travels into America after 9/11. As a business executive he made many trips to the U.S. before 9/11 and afterward he always planned on a 4 hour delay because of background checks, until he arrived with a copy of his published book under his arm and could show them his picture on the book and that he really was the person who wrote it. Such are our fears and discriminations.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A reader on April 29, 2009
Format: Hardcover
A really funny and entertaining coming of age story that would resonate with anyone, but the author also weaves in an interesting and gentle perspective on racism and religious intolerance. The point is that he did not have a miserable childhood, did not become a terrorist or any of the other things that make for flashy headlines. He is a regular person, and in telling his story lets us see that we all have more in common than we have differences.

I was lucky enough to meet the author in person at a book signing recently. He was just as self-effacing and funny in real life as he is in the book. Charming.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dilara Hafiz on April 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Just had the pleasure of hearing Imran Ahmad speak at a recent book presentation - he's charming, witty, & relates the backstory to his book. 'Unimagined' is a wonderful book because it succeeds in humanizing Muslims who've somehow become the 'Other' after 9/11. More voices like his need to join this dialogue in order to dispel stereotypes.

As the author of 'The American Muslim Teenager's Handbook' - I encourage anyone who's curious to hear from normal Muslims to seek out books like these in order to put a human face on Islam - extremists do NOT represent us!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Esmerelda on February 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Imran Ahmed's book Unimagined: A Muslim Boy Meets the West drew me in very slowly. It started with sweet remembrances of his early days as a Pakistani boy growing up in London and began to move more quickly as he made his way through school and into University and eventually graduate school and a career. His prose is very undecorated and straightforward. He makes you laugh with familiarity over awkward teen situations and seethe with anger over the travesties of racism and discrimination. Even though we are very different people, his story felt familiar and uplifting.

He creates tension over three main issues in his life: following his true calling as opposed to the career he thinks he should follow, understanding his faith in light of a backdrop of Western Evangelical Christianity, and meeting and finding someone to love.

As he got older and began to have a more nuanced understanding of career, faith and love I began to get more drawn into his struggles. I wanted for him to become enlightened and understand his life (The same way someone reading your memoir would wish the same for you.) and so it became a book I could not put down. Yes, a simple story about a Muslim boy growing up in the West became a page turner. Who would Imran Ahmed become?

I don't want to spoil too much of this fine memoir. The joy of this book is in the evolution of Imran's thinking and the way he slowly comes to self discovery. He is a nice guy and you want him to figure it out so he can enjoy his life. He comes to some resolution in two of the three areas of his life, and the subject of his next memoir might be what happens to him in the third area. I will look forward to reading his next book.
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