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Il suono e il respiro della preghiera (Bangla Desh #2)

3.63  ·  Rating Details ·  1,336 Ratings  ·  236 Reviews
One hot afternoon in a remote Bangladeshi village, a telegram arrives for Maya Haque . . .
Eight years before, a devastating war tore Maya’s country – and her family – apart. Now Maya realises it is time to return home at last. She arrives to find that everything has changed. Her old friends have been seduced by the lure of new money, her city streets have been renamed and
Hardcover, 306 pages
Published May 2011 by Garzanti
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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“Suffering is a gift. In it is hidden mercy.”


Tahmima Anam, an award-wining Bangladeshi author, has penned a soul touching and a highly poignant historical fiction surrounding a family torn between the after-effects of war, politics and family love in her book, The Good Muslim which is the second book in her Bangladesh series. This story opens with the daughter who goes into exile for seven long years to study medicine and to open up her own practice as a doctor, returning back to her
Aug 21, 2016 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second in a trilogy, the first being “A Golden Age” and continues the story of the Haque family and is again set in Bangladesh. It can be read as a stand-alone, but it does help to have read the first one. This part of the trilogy focusses on Rehanna’s two children, Maya and Sohail. It switches from just after the war and independence to ten years later. It charts the very different directions the siblings take as a result of their experiences during the war. Maya becomes a doctor an ...more
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
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 prosecu
Apr 18, 2012 Tas rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I had high expectations from Tahmima Anam when I very randomly came across her second book tucked away in the corners of a bookstore in the Bangladesh airport. I thoroughly enjoyed Golden Age and had recommended it to many non-Bangladeshi friends.
Imagine my surprise at finding out a quarter of the way through that this book is a sequel to Golden Age! I kept my frustrations at check about the glacial pace and the jumpy narrative and breezed through the pages. At the end, as much as it pains me,
Sep 23, 2012 Diana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I want to tread lightly with my review, mainly because I don't want to offend anyone who is Muslim. The Muslim culture has always been a mystery to me and I always wondered about the complexities of the culture, as well as the every day life things. I felt like this book gave me a tiny glimpse into the culture, and I mean tiny, but it was significant all the same. This book really blew my mind. I had no idea it was a sequel but it reads like a stand alone book. Maya is a character that I found v ...more
Sep 08, 2016 Marieke rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, islam, mena-lit, 2016
I was right to wait to finish this. I could have finished it before bed last night, but I had a feeling that the ending should wait until morning. I was right. The end was magnificent and difficult. I needed the night of sleep and the strong coffee to fortify me against the heartache at the conclusion. Tears at 6:30am from a book? Yep. Tahmima Anam is quite possibly the greatest of my reading "discoveries." I'm so thankful that my MENA reading group decided to branch out one year and dip our toe ...more
Lila (formerly Jalilah)
This compelling novel is a follow up to A Golden Age. While The Good Muslim is a story on to itself, it definitely would be much better appreciated having read The Golden Age First.
It has been over 10 years since Bangladesh won independence, however there is still no real democracy. The two young Golden Age protagonists, brother and sister Maya and Souhail, are now in their early 30s and have gone different ways. Maya is a medical doctor, secular and still holds her revolutionary beliefs that s
Claire McAlpine
In A Golden Age, Tahmima Anam's first book in this Bangladesh trilogy the focus is on Rehana, the mother of Maya and Sohail and most of the book takes place from March to December 1971, during the Bangladesh War of Independence. It shows how families, neighbours, ordinary citizens coped with war, how they got involved and the effect it had on them all.

Now, in The Good Muslim it is some years after the war and Maya has just returned to Dhaka, to the family home and over the course of the novel we
Lara Zuberi
Apr 04, 2016 Lara Zuberi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Good Muslim is a very touching sequel to Anam's first novel, A golden Age. It takes the reader on a journey to post-war Bangladesh. Though the backdrop is political, it is woven into a very personal and real story of a family, and how they struggle, in their own ways to make sense of all the sacrifices they made. Rehana was the protagonist in The Golden Age, and The Good Muslim is written from the perspective of her daughter Maya. Since Rehanas character was based on Anam's grandmother, Maya ...more
Aug 21, 2011 Beverly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Heading: Peace Is Harder Than War

The Good Muslim by Tahmina Anam is the story of two siblings, sister Maya Haque and brother Sohail Haque. Both have survived the 1971 Bangladesh War for Independence, yet are haunted by the things they did and saw. Before the war, Maya and Sohail were inseparable, but chose different roles during the war, Sohail was a guerilla fighter and Maya worked in a refugee camp. Now that the revolution was successful, brother and sister struggle on how to cope in this budd
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
Alternating between 1971 and 1984 The Good Muslim tells the story of Maya, a doctor who has spent seven years in self-imposed exile travelling the country, helping women and children survive childbirth and common illnesses, and her brother, Sohail, a freedom fighter in the war against Pakistan that ended in 1971. In the 70s, the young country was embracing a constitution and finding its feet, but Sohail is tormented by a girl he rescued from a barracks, Piya, and a man he killed on the road home ...more
Dec 03, 2011 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: c21st, bangladesh
I really liked this book: longlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize 2011 it’s a superb example of writing that is both ‘domestic’ and ‘big picture’.

It’s the story of Maya Haque, a young woman seeking an identity which fulfils both her intellectual and emotional needs. But, set in Bangladesh in two alternating time periods, 1972, just after the war of independence and 12 years later in 1984 when political disillusionment had set in, the novel does not only depict the conflicts that beset Maya i
Trupti Dorge
Sep 08, 2011 Trupti Dorge rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own
The Good Muslim begins 10 years after A Golden Age ends.The war has ended, a new country, Bangladesh is formed and 10 years have passed. This book is from Maya’s point of view and she is now a women’s doctor in a remote village in Bangladesh, leaving her mother and brother, for reasons unknown at that point. Due to some unfortunate circumstances Maya has to return to Dhaka. She finds that a lot has changed while she was away. Her brother has dedicated himself to Islam and he is no longer close t ...more
I have not read A Golden Age and I know nothing about the Bangadeshi war against Pakistan. Both of these facts most likely decreased my appreciation for The Good Muslim: A Novel. I enjoyed the first of three sections very much, but somewhere in the second what had seemed like an introductory style began to feel very much like a lack of coherency. The lack of exposition contributed to my confusion about the setting and Maya, the primary character, began to repeat her thoughts and observations in ...more
Jun 22, 2013 Marvin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion
This really fine novel is set in Bangladesh in the mid-1980s, with flashbacks to the defining years of the 1970s, when all of the major characters' lives were transformed by the events of the revolution against Pakistan, though the promise of those days has been mostly lost to dictatorial rule. Those transformative political events are crucial to the story, but they are very much a backdrop to an intimate family story. A young, independent, secular, woman doctor is estranged from the handsome, b ...more
Amy Lignor
This is a truly powerful story that offers an in-depth look into war, family, and the strength and courage that’s needed to let go of the nightmares of the past and begin a brand new future.

Maya and her brother Sohail Haque are the ‘stars’ of this incredible novel. These are two souls who have survived the war of Independence that birthed the nation of Bangladesh, and the revolution that finally has calmed down in their world. Maya wants nothing more than to begin again. Deciding to go the route
Oct 01, 2011 edj rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book opens with Maya preparing to return to the home she had fled 9 years previously. She has been working as a doctor in a small traditional village, delivering babies and trying to educate the community. They turn against her after a woman delivers a Downs Syndrome child, and her husband assumes his wife has had an affair with a Chinese man. The wife is beaten to the point of requiring 3 months of hospitalization, and Maya, after receiving some very definite threats, decides to return home ...more
Apr 26, 2012 Bibliophile rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Good Muslim is a sequel of sorts to Tahmima Anam's first novel, A Golden Age; the main characters of the second novel are the children of Rehana Haque, the protagonist of the first novel. Maya and Sohail Haque have both been damaged in different ways by their exposure to the horrors of Bangladesh's 1971 war for independence and they both react differently: Sohail becomes a devout Muslim, using his gifts for oratory to build a following for a fundamentalist Islam that is completely foreign to ...more
Momina Masood
Liked this one better than A Golden Age.
Aug 04, 2015 Bookworm rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
IT'S A SEQUEL! Sorry. I just wanted to make sure people knew that. I didn't know (avoiding reviews to avoid spoilers and coming up with preconceived notions about the book prior to reading) and was immensely frustrated with the book. It had been on a Buzzfeed list of books to read about Muslims and as I haven't read too many books by Southeast Asian authors, this seemed like an intriguing book.

It's supposedly the story two siblings, Maya and Sohail. Sohail has turned to fundamentalism and Maya i
Shreya Vaid
Jun 18, 2016 Shreya Vaid rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From the award-winning author of A Golden Age, Tahmima Anam, comes another masterpiece, The Good Muslim, the story after the war. A story of survival, of hiding and never letting the past go.

The Good Muslim follows the story of Haque family after the war, when in an abandoned building, Sohail Haque comes across a woman, shattered and ripped to pieces, showing the signs of war, gang rape, torture and seeds of hatred in her womb. A woman who will haunt Sohail for the rest of her life.

After a decad
Nadhrah Ali
Mar 13, 2016 Nadhrah Ali rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't usually write reviews for books but this is one I feel that I should. It hits close to home, to the heritage I have and partially ignore for my own reasons.

Though not explicitly stated, the main character is somewhat an ex Muslim, and struggles with her radicalised brother. I see the parallels between myself and my own family, though circumstances nowadays are slightly different. Nevertheless, it was a story that I related to more than I was expecting.

Similar to 'A thousand splendid suns
Jan 30, 2012 Rosemarie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story shifts between action remembered in 1972 at the ending of a revolutionary war in Bangladesh, and the present time, 1984, when Maya returns to her mother's home after spending years as a doctor in the countryside. Her brother, Sohail, adopted a devout way of life after his return from being a revolutionary soldier, and now is regarded as religious leader of a group of followers. His wife is dead and his son, Zaid, is neglected by him and his followers. Unresolved disputes, unexplained a ...more
Mark Staniforth
For her second novel, following 2007's Commonwealth Writers' Prize winner 'A Golden Age', Tahmima Anam tackles the not inconsiderable, and certainly timely, topics of revolution and fundamentalism in her native Bangladesh. As the Arab Spring turns cold in Egypt, The Good Muslim begs the question of whether so-called liberation is ever entirely achieved by mass rallies in public squares or newsreel footage of toppling statues.
In Bangladesh, which achieved independence after a short war with Pakis
Sep 03, 2011 Marcy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The events in this story flash forward and backwards, slowly unravelling and revealing the problems of Bangladesh and the main characters. Mysteries are solved, but there is never a "solution" or happy ending. The truth why Sohail, "the good Muslim," becomes lost in a religious zeal, is not exposed until the end of the story. Maya, his sister, is tormented why her brother has turned into a "prophet" after the war took place between Pakistan and Bangladesh, and remains silent. Maya cannot underst ...more
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
I thoroughly enjoyed A Golden Age, so I had high hopes for this book. Sadly, like many sequels, it just isn't as good as its predecessor.

The Good Muslim picks up in 1984, over a decade after the end of A Golden Age, which chronicled the experiences of a family during Bangladesh's war for independence. Now the country is ruled by the unnamed Dictator, religious extremism is on the rise, and the Haque family is divided by the son Sohail's adopting such an extreme version of Islam that even toothb
Apr 01, 2012 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At the end of a brutal civil war, a man stumbles upon an abandoned building and finds a young woman whose story will haunt him for years. Almost a decade later his sister returns home to find her brother transformed. While she has stuck to her revolutionary ideals, he has shunned his old life to become a charismatic religious leader. And when he decides to send his son to madrasa the conflict between them comes to a devastating climax. Set in Bangladesh at a time when religious fundamentalism is ...more
Mar 24, 2013 Erika rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
I did not realize this was book 2 in a series when I bought it but decided to read it stands alone quite well and I didn't feel I missed anything by not having read book one. Nor do I really feel the need to read book three. I enjoyed the story. It was well written and it gave me a little glimpse into a piece of history and life that I know nothing about.

This is the story of a family after the war that creates an independent Bangladesh. The sister pushes herself as far from religion as
Sep 14, 2011 Liz rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the book but thought it was overly drawn out, even at under 300 pages. Maya's resistance to her brother's conversion to a somewhat fundamentalist form of Islam, and her misguided hope that she can make him revert to his secular self, are reiterated over and over. Events pick up in rather startling fashion at the end of the book, but the siblings' mixture of love and misunderstanding of each other stays the same.

As a side note, I read "A Golden Age" before going to Bangladesh, and now t
Sep 14, 2016 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this story about a family in Bangladesh before and after its war for independence. Very interesting insight into a historical moment that I previously knew very little about, and the ways in which family, religion, and politics intersect and collide.
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Tahmima Anam was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh in 1975. She was raised in Paris, New York City, and Bangkok. Renowned satirist Abul Mansur Ahmed is her grandfather.

After studying at Mount Holyoke College and Harvard University, she earned a PhD in Social Anthropology.

Her first novel, A Golden Age, was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and the Costa First Novel Prize, and was the winner of
More about Tahmima Anam...

Other Books in the Series

Bangla Desh (3 books)
  • A Golden Age
  • The Bones of Grace (Bangla Desh #3)

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“Before placing her in her mother's arms, she whispered, as she had at all the other births, hello, little amphibian. Someone had to acknowledge the strangeness of this soul, and the distance it had traversed, millions and millions of years, in order to be here.” 8 likes
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