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Ours Are the Streets

3.31  ·  Rating Details  ·  296 Ratings  ·  41 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, 313 pages
Published 2011 by Picador USA
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 659)
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Oct 14, 2011 Paul rated it liked it
Shelves: political-novels
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
Jakey Gee
Apr 21, 2013 Jakey Gee rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013
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
Mar 19, 2011 Anne rated it liked it
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
Laura Elisabeth
Read this book for couch book club, its a real eye opener of a book, very interesting. I like the writing style, however the actual storyline is just one mans thoughts, it would have benefited from another point of view, to give it more substance.

Overall Its a good book, good plot and unexpected ending.
Feb 13, 2014 Meera rated it really liked it
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
Feb 17, 2015 Molly rated it it was ok
Great idea, badly executed. The perspective changes were confusing and gimmicky and the ending was predictable but still infuriating.
Apr 10, 2016 Hollie rated it really liked it
Shelves: ll-book
Imtiaz's story is a difficult one to read and it is a story that understandably some will not want to read. Imtiaz is young man who is the first generation of his Pakistani family to be born and grow up in England. He tries to balance his conservative Muslim childhood with the contrasting Western style life of his school friends and beyond in multicultural England. In England he defends the Muslims against the Whites and the Whites against the Muslims, and in Pakistan he is considered an outside ...more
Dec 31, 2010 DubaiReader rated it really liked it
Shelves: vine, young-adult, 2010
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.

May 02, 2012 Gerund rated it liked it
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
Oct 03, 2012 Marta rated it it was ok
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
Mar 13, 2012 Joanna rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Steven Kay
Jul 11, 2014 Steven Kay rated it liked it
Shelves: sheffield-novels
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: ...more
Jun 05, 2012 Laura rated it liked it
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
May 12, 2012 Priyanka rated it really liked it
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
Pat Stearman
Mar 30, 2012 Pat Stearman rated it liked it
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
Ann Tonks
The cover says that this novel "audaciously attempts to make us feel sympahty for a suicide bomber" but it failed with me. There just wasn't enough rationale for his bevahiou. Maybe that is the point - or maybe I wasn't engaging enough with the subtext. Either way, whilst I wanted to understand, I didn't.
Sep 06, 2015 AmyEva rated it really liked it
A bizarre yet entertaining read. I enjoyed the writing style, which included the narrator's own dialect of a Sheffield-born man. It was an easy-read, but an upsetting one at times. I enjoyed it, though.
May 17, 2014 Sarah rated it really liked it
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.
Sora Miura
Imtiaz is a confusing character. He wanted to belong to his people and that leads him to join their fight which is in fact makes him betray his own country. Sad.
Meecha Bloxsidge
Jan 11, 2013 Meecha Bloxsidge rated it really liked it
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
Mike Jones
Dec 21, 2015 Mike Jones rated it it was ok
Interesting account of how a guy becomes radicalised. But I felt it dragged too much in the middle. Hence only two stars.
Jun 05, 2014 Debra rated it it was amazing
I resisted the topic at first, but found the book moving. Towards understanding.
Feb 03, 2015 Hobo rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 09, 2015 Churchmouse rated it liked it
Began really well but gradually seemed to fall apart.
Mar 31, 2016 Joana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Solid 3.5.
I know I'll be thinking about this one for a long time.
Veronika P.
Jul 08, 2015 Veronika P. rated it it was ok
Feb 09, 2013 Sally rated it liked it
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
Nov 25, 2012 Elizabeth Moffat rated it it was ok
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
Sep 15, 2013 Alison Smith rated it liked it
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!
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Sunjeev Sahota is a British novelist. Sahota was born in 1981 in Derby, and his family moved to Chesterfield when he was seven years old. His paternal grandparents had emigrated to Britain from the Punjab in 1966. After finishing school, Sahota studied mathematics at Imperial College London. As of January 2011, he was working in marketing for the insurance company Aviva.

Sahota had not read a novel
More about Sunjeev Sahota...

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