Mini Book Review: The Good Muslim by Tahmina Amam

14 Jan

Genre: Literary fiction

Series: A Golden Age #2

Publisher: Harper Collins (imprint)

Pub date: 2 Aug 2011

Source: Publisher

(This is a short review of a book I read a while ago and made notes on. I don’t have this book with me now, so you’ll notice the review is a little thin on the details.)

Synopsis (From GoodReads)

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.

Review

The Good Muslim is the next part of the story that continues from A Golden Age. The Golden Age was the story of a family in the midst of the Bangladesh’s war of independence. The Good Muslim follows this family after Bangladesh has become an independent nation. Rehana’s children Maya and Sohail was very active during the war. They were reactionaries who believed in their cause and fought for it, much to Rehana’s discomfort and in spite of her fear for their safety.

Many years later, Maya and Sohail are rather different people than they used to be in those reactionary days. Once they come back to their home in Dhaka at different times, they are no longer able to get back to their old friends, parties and what they now see as a frivolous way of life. Sohail has become a part of a puritanical religious group. His son Zaid is growing up without any contact with the outside world and “normal” way of life. Maya is fighting the fight by providing medical help to women who have been affected by the brutalities of the war. Rehana is riddled with illness and is no longer the strong mother who supported her children’s reactionary ways. While the story deals with the fundamental conflict between brother and sister, this is really Maya’s story.

The country is also is a state of chaos that no one will admit to. During the war of independence there were rapes, and untold abuses and war crimes have been swept under the carpet to create the image of a shining prosperous new country.

While The Golden Age was Rehana’s story, The Good Muslim is Maya’s story and we see the world through her eyes. She feels rage for the women who were abused and are now forgotten and is perplexed by the person her brother has become.

The story is bleak and shows a realistic side of the problems. It is highly emotional and throughout Maya has to make some difficult and sometimes impossible decisions, with devastating results.

Verdict

Highly recommended. I do suggest that you read the books in order to see how the characters change over the course of the years.

Rating: 4.5*

*See my Rating policy

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© Stargazerpuj and Stargazerpuj’s Book Blog, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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3 Responses to “Mini Book Review: The Good Muslim by Tahmina Amam”

  1. Jennifer, bookspersonally January 15, 2012 at 4:38 pm #

    These sound so interesting, and poignant. Great review, glad to learn of both books.

  2. sb2711 August 19, 2014 at 11:58 am #

    This one, not as good as the first book. Leaves a lot to be answered in my opinion.

  3. Gerry May 30, 2017 at 6:36 pm #

    This is way more helpful than anhtniyg else I’ve looked at.

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