Ours Are the Streets
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Ours Are the Streets

3.23 of 5 stars 3.23  ·  rating details  ·  144 ratings  ·  27 reviews
'Genuine, poignant ...A moral work of real intelligence and power' John Burnside, The Times When Imtiaz Raina leaves England for the first time, to bury his father on his family's land near Lahore, he exchanges his uncertain life in Sheffield for a road that leads to the mountains of Kashmir and Afghanistan. Once back in Yorkshire, he writes through the night to his young...more
Paperback, 312 pages
Published by Picador USA (first published January 1st 2011)
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Jakey Gee
I've had this on the pile for a year or so, but picked it up on seeing that the writer's made it onto the influential Granta Best Young British Writers list.

Hmmm. It's fine, but it's nothing knock out. The semi-articulate first person / diary narrator is pretty well done (and the Sheffield-British-Asian register is all there).

But I'm not sure this is a penetrating insight into very much, beyond that our archetypal radical (7/7 etc, mtffaeithcoh - oh, that's shorthand for 'may they fry for all e...more
Anne
The premise for the story behind Ours Are The Streets is an excellent one, and in the right hands this could be a powerful story that could go some way to explain why young men that have been born and brought up in Britain feel the need to turn to extreme fundamentalism.

However, the writing style in this book is so very odd. Imtiaz is a recognisable character, he is young, bored and has found himself married and a father at a young age, but there is nothing in his thoughts to make the reader fe...more
Meera
An intriguing and sympathetic look into the life of a young Muslim man who decides to become a suicide bomber. This book was very unusual, and it took me a little while to get into the style in which it was written (which uses his Northern dialect), and is quite disjointed as a letter to his wife, his baby daughter, any one who will listen about why he has chosen to go down the path he has done. I did actually like the style after a while, as it leaves a lot to the reader's imagination about the...more
Paul
Not easy to assess this one and not a comfortable read.
Imtiaz is a British born young man of Pakistani origin, Sheffield to be precise. He is not particularly religious and falls in love with Rebecca, marries and has a daughter. Following the death of his father he goes to Pakistan for the funeral. here he meets extended family and friends and he is "radicalised" and spends some time in Afghanistan. One of his friends carries out a suicide bombing and Imtiaz returns to Britain with another fami...more
DubaiReader
Falls a bit short of the mark.

This book didn't really gel for me. It was rather disjointed and seemed to lurch its way between being a memoir and a farewell to his family.
In addition, I had a problem with Imtiaz's motivation for becoming a suicide bomber - he seemed more worried about belonging and being a part of something than actually convinced by the ideology of Islam. He preferred to listen to Islamic stories than to study the Koran, although he was very devout about attending the prayers.

I...more
Gerund
It's a tall order to make a suicide bomber sympathethic, and debut author Sunjeev Sahota almost succeeds in this extremely topical novel.

The narrator of Ours Are The Streets is Imtiaz, born in Sheffield but of Pakistani origin. At the start of the book, he is already preparing to be a suicide bomber, and the narrative is written, rather contrivedly, as a letter to his loved ones, narrating his past actions and explaining his motives. Addressees include his baby daughter Noor, his child with his...more
Marta
Ours are the street inizia con il piu' nobile degli intenti: illuminarci su come Imtiaz, un giovane pakistano di seconda generazione e "occidentalizzato", decida di rinunciare a una vita apparentemente perfetta e arruolarsi nella jihad. Il problema e' che, nelle 300 e passa pagine di romanzo, non si capisce il perche' di questa scelta.

Dopo la morte del padre, qualcosa si rompe dento Imtiaz e una rabbia, forse repressa, lo spinge a riconsiderate molte cose. Tuttavia, nonostante la prosa secca ma...more
Joanna
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Gary Willmott
Quite difficult to get into, but is rather more gripping in the second half.
There are some good characters and situations, and although he writes well, the author never really fleshes anything out enough.
The exploration of the motivation for a turn to fundamentalism is not really done well, turning as it does on a couple of key scenes that come and go too quickly. Added to this is the fact that there is no real consideration of the political issues, and so it all seems a bit slight.
In fact the m...more
Steven Kay
A compelling read but I was disappointed this didn't give better insights into the experience of a British Asian Sheffielder or what could have led to his radicalisation. There are some serious stylistic flaws and inconsistencies. The e-book formatting is shockingly bad for £3.59 and the editing not what you'd expect from mainstream publishing. Full review at: http://stevek1889.blogspot.co.uk/2014...
Laura
Laura An interesting premise, well handled. I would possibly have rated it 4 stars if the jumping back and forwards between his present life in Sheffield and a trip to Pakistan & Afghanistan had been clearer and some of the language less confusing. I liked the fact that it was not purely a sense of righteous anger behind his decision to turn terrorist, more a believable mix of alienation, a lack of belonging and of hope in his life so far and for the future (limited job prospects, marriage a...more
Priyanka
A poignant account of the making of a terrorist and a jehadi, and the way he looks at the world. Imtiaz is not one of your usual suspects for a terrorist, being born and brought up in the west with access to all that is termed as "freedom" & "liberty". But its his search for his own self and where he really belongs is as fascinating as it is disturbing and dark.
Reading this book is almost like sitting in his head, and looking out.
The book is written in a style that reminded me in some ways...more
Pat Stearman
Interesting premise, and unlike other reviewers, I didn't find it hard to grasp the narrative. I think part of the point is that the guy isn't politicised or even fundamentalised or whatever, he's just part of a group and their assumption is that they will all become suicide bombers/martyrs. Which makes it even more scary.
This is a book group read and I'm not sure I'd have picked it up, the cover didn't interest me although reading the blurb I felt I might enjoy it. Enjoy isn't really the word...more
Sarah
A stunning novel, an incredible voice for the central character and a story that rings true and puts a human face on some of the most horrific events we see and hear about on the news.
Meecha Bloxsidge
At first I didn't feel much for this book. It took me awhile to get settled into the skin of the main character. However, as with all things worth the wait this story slowly and steadily began to get under my skin. Although I think the story is more about belonging than it is about religion, it's truly a fresh breeze of air and a new cultural perspective on belief and trying to find your identity. The ending left me longing but shouldn't all good endings? Some things are best when left to our ow...more
Debra
I resisted the topic at first, but found the book moving. Towards understanding.
Sally
this was a quite unsettling book - well it was bound to be given the nature of its story. It left me feeling quite sad at the end, I still did not really understand the 'why' of a suicide bomber but could understand the complex feelings of living in a society where your religion is looked down on and feared and yet still wanting to be a part of that society.
Saul Mcintyre
A very interesting debut novel about the descent into madness and fanaticism of a Sheffield lad after visiting his relatives in Pakistan. Had me dreaming about being a Muslim suicide bomber on a couple of nights. Let down a bit by incorrect geography and the fact that I never warmed to the main character. Still enjoyed it a lot though.
Elizabeth Moffat
I first heard an interview with this author on the Guardian books podcast and the book sounded so intriguing that I felt I had to read it. However, I was a bit disappointed! Okay - its quite uncomfortable reading about a suicide bomber but I felt the story lacked depth and vitality. To be honest, I was glad to finish it.
Alison Smith
Debut novel by British born Pakistani - Sanjeev Sahota has been nominated as one of Britain's best young writers, by Granta. Its a scarily authentic novel about a young British-
Asian man who goes to Pakistan to bury his father, "catches religion" and returns to the UK as a jihadist.Brrhh!
Snoakes
Lots of people didn't seem to like this one too much, but I really enjoyed it. Fascinating and compelling - I couldn't put it down.
Giskin
This is a surprising book written from the point of view of a potential jihadist. It's a bit like a more serious version of Four Lions. The narrative sagged a bit in the middle but the beginning is very well written and the ending was deftly handled.
Vaarun Dhingra
Loved the book, looks at terrorism from a very different angle and the angst the protagonist is facing sucks you in. And the open ending keeps you thinking, long after the book is over. Gripping.
Stephen
could of been a much better book but felt it was disjointed and could of potrayed the suicide bomber much better but overlal not too bad for an orange prize shortlisted book
Vanessa
Slow moving and boring at times> unfolding of the plot is done magnificently however and the layers of society are peeled back to reveal hidden sins.
Double
Most books are worth giving the first 100 pages a chance. This one didn't make it beyond that.
Kumaraguru Dnv
I wouldn't be surprised if this book is made into a movie.
Judith
An interesting and insightful read.
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