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The Good Muslim: A Novel Hardcover – Bargain Price, August 2, 2011

4.0 out of 5 stars 44 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“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 )

“Throughout the novel’s extremes of violence and tragedy, Anam always allows the ultimate humanity of the characters to shine through.” (Kirkus )

“Anam has a gift for tackling complex issues both personal and political.” (Library Journal )

The Good Muslim brims with gripping narrative, absorbing history and Shakespearean moral conundrums. . . . A keen examination of survival and forgiveness.” (Los Angeles Times )

“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 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.” (Denver Post )

“Anam tells a poignant, little-known story of a country often lost in the maze of global politics.” (Booklist )

“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) )

From the Back Cover

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.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; First Edition edition (August 2, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061478768
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #351,584 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
A Golden Age introduced the widow Rehana Haque and her two teenagers, Sohail and Maya, as they participated in the 1971 Bangladesh War of Independence.
The Good Muslim is the second book in the Haque family trilogy. It begins in 1984, thirteen years after the war. Bangladeshis are not necessarily much better off than before the war. The country has had two presidents assassinated and is now living under the thumb of the Dictator. Martial law is in effect, war criminals still have not been prosecuted, and religious extremism is building.

Once inseparable, Sohail and his sister Maya were driven apart following the war. Sohail felt the need to atone for his part in the war by gradually falling into an extreme practice of Islam. Maya became a doctor and shunned religion. The two have had no contact since 1977, when Maya fled from Dhaka in anger at her brother's complete renunciation of all the worldly things he once treasured. She felt she had lost the brother she loved, her heart's companion.

Maya returns to Dhaka in 1984. She is distressed at her brother's continued religiosity, yet she is seduced by its promises when disease threatens her mother's life. She quickly forges a strong bond with her motherless nephew Zaid. Sohail has other plans for the boy, deepening the rift between brother and sister. Maya finds it impossible to connect with her brother. His religious devotion is so intense that he neglects his son's needs and turns his back on old friends. As in the old days, Maya can't help finding ways of getting herself in hot water. She's an intelligent, bold, outspoken woman in a country that favors female submission.

Tahmima Anam's strength lies in writing about the intricacies of familial love and loyalty.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
In 1971 Pakistan split into two nations, present day Pakistan and Bangladesh, by means of a brutal civil war. In the aftermath of that war, citizens of Bangladesh celebrated their hard won independence, while trying to cope with the horrors that had been inflicted upon them, and the horrors that they had inflicted. Thousands of women had been raped, and many of them were pregnant. The new government called them heroes, but there was no heroes' welcome awaiting them at home, in a land where a raped woman can be put to death to preserve the honor of her family. Many soldiers had been through a brutal experience, and they were left to their own devices when the war was over. They did not find many therapists to help them with post traumatic stress.

Tahmima Anam has crafted a beautifully written story of a woman's life after war, a life constrained by custom and religion, lived with dependence and independence, beauty and sorrow, and the pervasive sense of loss. Within alternating chapters of past and present, we learn Maya's history, her fractured bonds to family, friends, and religion, her growing despair for her country, and the heavy price of a woman's freedom in a land of misogyny and fundamentalism.

Maya and her mother are real and fascinating characters. The author speaks from Maya's perspective, so we get to know her best. She is a complex bundle of contradictions. She has lost her beloved older brother, Sohail to a strict form of Islam that precludes just about every form of human activity. He rebuffs her attempts to reestablish their relationship. Sohail's son Zaid, ill clothed, underfed, and emotionally abandoned, is forbidden from attending school, until a suitably Islamic one can be found, where an even more heartbreaking fate awaits.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This was one of those "oh, well, why not" books for me - the kind I pick up thinking they might be interesting, although once I've got them sitting in the giant to-be-read pile on my floor, nothing about it shouted out "read me now". And when I eventually did pick it up and plunge into this narrative of life in the newly-independent nation of Bangladesh, I immediately found myself riveted by the struggles of the characters to make sense of the world that peace and independence had brought about -- and when I reluctantly reached the bottom of the final page, I immediately added Tahmima Anam's wonderful novel to my list of the best books I've read this year.

Although it's the second of two novels, the first of which presumably deals with the experiences of Maya, her brother Sohail and their friends during the war of independence in the early 1970s, this can be easily read on its own, as I did; the author gracefully introduces the background to us throughout the story without it ever feeling as if we're being debriefed. (That's not to say, of course, that this wouldn't have been a still richer experience had I read A Golden Age: A Novel (P.S.) first.) When the story opens, Maya is making her way home slowly across the country to Dhaka, which she had left years earlier. Her religious sister-in-law -- who had helped make her home no longer feel like home and helped, she is convinced, to turn her brother into an unrecognizably devout Muslim -- is now dead, Maya has encountered problems at the rural health clinic that she set up to help mothers and their babies, and so she returns to the city where her mother, brother and young nephew now live.
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