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The Good Muslim: A Novel Paperback – August 14, 2012
"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Pre-order today
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A New Yorker Best Book of the Year
In the dying days of a brutal civil war in Bangladesh, 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.
The Good Muslim is an epic story about faith, family, the rise of religious fundamentalism, and the long shadow of war from prizewinning Bangladeshi novelist Tahmima Anam.
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I did enjoy the author's writing style very much and the description of post-war Bangladesh and it's aftermath, how it contributed to the rise of Islamic extremism and its effect upon one family. It was an education for me. However, at times, I was confused about the story line in the novel and the direction in which Ms. Anam was taking us. Maybe this is part of what she was aiming for to further illustrate the conflicts that arise when wars exist and the everlasting horrors and trauma they inflict. I certainly am open to reading more of Tahmina Anam and will probably go back to read the Golden Age eventually. Wish I could have rated the novel itself higher but I cannot justify it at this time--maybe a repeat reading is demanded.
The central character, Maya, is a Bangladeshi doctor who is a very believable character, in many ways, likable, while struggling with some obvious character flaws. Her story is that of a struggle with her past ideology, things she's done of which she is not currently proud and her desire to hold her family together. The other central character is her brother, Sohail, who as a soldier during the war of independence, has also done things he is not proud of and seen things that have affected him deeply. His life seems to be a daily struggle to understand what he's seen and done. In that quest, he turns to religion and overtime becomes a fanatic, which ultimately alters the course of his son's life.
The writing by Ms. Anam is very good. The book is not overly wordy and does a great job of setting the mood, scenes, etc., so that you feel you are right there along with all the characters. The story is solid, does not feel contrived and is heart wrenching.
Because the author flashes back and forth between the time of the war and a decade or two later, it's a little hard to follow in the beginning. Also, if this is the first time you are reading about Islam, it may be a little confusing at first. But, if you hang in there with the author, you will be rewarded for your effort.
This is a good book, with good writing. I recommend it.
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Tahmima Anam, an award-wining Bangladeshi author, has penned a soul touching and a highly poignant...Read more