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Hashim & Family

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  116 ratings  ·  44 reviews
It is New Year's Eve, 1960. Hashim has left behind his homeland and his bride, Munira, to seek his fortune in England. His cousin and only friend, Rofikul, introduces Hashim to life in Manchester - including Rofikul's girlfriend, Helen. When Munira arrives, the group must learn what it is to be a family.

Over the next twenty years, they make their way in the new country - p
...more
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published April 2nd 2020 by John Murray Press
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Average rating 4.20  · 
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 ·  116 ratings  ·  44 reviews


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Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer
Aug 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-ntb, 2020
I read this book due to its shortlisting for the 2020 Guardian Not The Booker Prize: having nearly qualified via the Public vote it was the bookshop selection.

The book is the story of Hashim, who, newly married to Munira, leaves East Pakistan in late 1960 to join his cousin Rokiful in Manchester. The confident, almost brash Rokiful was something of a pioneer in Bengali immigrants to Manchester, but to the shy and traditional Hashim seems to have rather downplayed his family responsibilities at h
...more
Louise Wilson
Apr 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Set in 1960in Manchester the book covers a couple of decades and generations of a family. Hashim leaves East Pakistan to live in Manchester. His plan is to live there for five years and to send money home to his family. Hashim lives with his cousin, Rofikul has been in this country for a few years. Hashim eventually brings his wife over to live.

This is a story about immigration and how they adapted to their new lives. The book covers the atrocities of Bangladesh. These parts were quite hard to r
...more
Susan
Sep 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a debut novel by a daughter of immigrants Bangladesh parents and it is based on their own story. Two young men come to the UK, specifically to Manchester. They lived ina shared house for months and Hashim brings his wife over to join him. She settles in well and befriends Helen who is going out with Rofukil .

The story tells of how Hashim and family settle into their lives in Manchester. Rofukil however, returns to Bangladesh and has journalistic ambitions coming from Bangladesh's fight f
...more
Alyssia Cooke
Jan 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is in many ways a gentle book, yet it is in others a novel that shows brutality and intolerance at their very core. This is a strange wall to straddle but at the very heart of this story, it works. When Hashim comes to England in the 1960’s, he had a clear goal in mind. He plans to stay for no more than five years: to work and send much needed money back home or ‘dish’. It doesn’t occur to him that he might bring his bride to this strange country or that he might make a home and a family of ...more
Jenny Cooper
Oct 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: book-club
Hashim arrives in Manchester on New Year’s Eve in 1960, intent on making some money before returning to his new wife, Munira, in East Pakistan. He has been persuaded by his cousin Rofikul to move to the UK and he is like a fish out of water when he first arrives. Rofikul meets him off the train and introduces him to his somewhat chaotic life which includes a flat which was already over-crowded before Hashim moved in and an Irish girlfriend called Helen. Hashim is soon fitted out with clothes whi ...more
Susan Lanigan
May 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this enveloping saga by Shahnaz Ahsan, loosely based on the experience of her grandparents who migrated from then East Pakistan to England. The story concerns four main characters: Hashim, who is green about the gills when he first arrives in Manchester, his more savvy cousin Rofikul, Rofikul's Irish girlfriend Helen who gets together with him after he and Hashim are beaten up in a racist attack, and Hashim's wife Munira, whom he marries back at home and hopes to bring over late ...more
Callie
Jul 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Like many others, I didn't want to say goodbye to these characters when the book ended! I loved the way Ahsan wove the stories of each character together, artfully introducing themes of race, migration, and gender. I was struck by the way Hashim, Murina, Joy, Helen and Adam made such a tight knit and loyal family, despite being brought together in such a "nontypical" way. I highly recommend this book as a glimpse into the past and a reminder of previous manifestations of issues we're struggling ...more
Rebecca
Jan 10, 2020 rated it liked it
PUBLISHER’S DESCRIPTION:

“It is New Year's Eve, 1960. Hashim has left behind his homeland and his bride, Munira, to seek his fortune in England. His cousin and only friend, Rofikul, introduces Hashim to life in Manchester - including Rofikul's girlfriend, Helen. When Munira arrives, the group must learn what it is to be a family.
Over the next twenty years, they make their way in the new country - putting down roots and building a home. But when war breaks out in East Pakistan, the struggle for li
...more
Jeannie Zelos
Apr 07, 2020 rated it liked it
Hashim & Family, Shahnaz Ahsan

Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews

Genre: Historical Fiction

Amazing when your childhood years are considered history, way to age me ;-) However it was that sense of having lived through the time that made this book feel so real to me. Its horribly accurate in the casual racism of the day, that was just accepted by both sides. A few people railed against it but to what purpose, when there were not going to be huge changes.
I remember back in the early seventies wh
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Shabnam
Jul 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
First generation Bangladeshi immigrant experiences in Britain, and experiences of the war of independence in 1971 aren’t something that most readers will have come across, especially as the birth of Bangladesh is often swallowed up in the wider narrative of the Partition of India. But the depictions in this book are eye-opening as well as being insightful.

In her beautifully-written debut, Shahnaz Ahsan has successfully evoked what life was like for Bangladeshis in Britain during this period. Th
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Elite Group
Apr 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A touching story about family ties and the meaning of home.

In winter 1960, Hashim leaves his homeland and his new bride, Munira, to seek his fortune in Manchester, England. Under the guidance of his cousin. Rofikul, he finds a job and learns how to fit in with the values and culture of British life. After a short while, Munira arrives to join him and, after quickly befriending Rofikul’s Irish girlfriend Helen, the group starts to put down roots and become a real family. Unfortunately, when war
...more
Kevin
Mar 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, fiction
If there's one word for this book it's"duality". But, one word fails to capture the nuances and details that make this such a glorious read.

Hassim & Family covers over 20 years of, well, Hassim and his family's lives. In 1960 Hassim leaves, what was then the Dominion of Pakistan, and moves to England. Meeting up with his cousin, Rofikul, in Manchester. The story follows their lives and those of their friends and family. It's simple but fascinating. There are the inevitable cultural differences b
...more
Elanor Lawrence
Jan 17, 2021 rated it liked it
There's a lot to love about this multi-generational novel about an immigrant family in the UK. I learned a lot about Pakistan and Bangladesh (though, as other reviewers have noted, sometimes it does feel like the author assumes the readers are more familiar with the situation than we are!) and I genuinely liked most of the characters. It's hard not to love Hashim, and his wife, Munira, is also a compelling character. Their struggles during their time in England were both challenging and heartwar ...more
Effy
Mar 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
4.5 Stars

Following the lives of Hashim, his wife Munira, his cousin Rofikul, and his cousin's girlfriend Helen, Hashim & Family is a thoroughly engaging look at what family means as well as tackling issues of migration and the meaning of home.

I didn't know what to expect when I opened this book but I quickly became invested in the lives of all of the characters so much so that by the end of the story I was wondering what next and imagining amazing futures for them all. Each character, has a full
...more
Silverboggle
Feb 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
An important book which gives a fictional account of being an immigrant from East Pakistan in the 60s. Hashim intends to make enough money and return to his homeland and bride, but after bringing his bride to him instead, they stay. His cousin meanwhile seems set to settle down with Helen, who is of Irish descent and estranged from her family, and their awaited baby. Until that plan goes awry... The insight into the hostility and violence immigrants faced from many quarters at that time is descr ...more
Jane Hunt
Jul 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'Hashim & Family' is an educational and emotional journey back in time to Britain and Pakistan during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. It explores the reasons for migration. What is left behind? The concept of family and home. The story captures the brutality and hope of a migrants' life. The tenacious spirit of Hashim and his family portrayed through authentic and believable characters. The characters are flawed and vulnerable, but mostly easy to empathise.

The political and social history aspect of
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Georgina Kamsika
Jan 02, 2020 added it
Shelves: arc
A story about immigration in the 1960’s is going to appeal to me. That the family are from East Pakistan/Bangladesh is slightly different from my own family, but them moving to a big northern city is highly relatable.

Hashim comes to Manchester to stay with his cousin, Rofikul. Hashim’s wife Munira comes over to stay, while Rofikul dates an Irish white girl, Helen. The novel covers about twenty years of their lives as the family grows and changes.

I know a little of partition and the later birth
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Serendipity
Oct 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Hashim & Family is a novel about love, loyalty, family and the immigration experience. We first meet Hashim when he migrates from what will become Bangladesh to Manchester in 1960. He is met by his cousin Rofikul. The two live with many other immigrants in a group house. Hashim eventually brings his wife Munira over to join him and, despite his plans to remain only a few years, the two build a life - including owning their own business - there. Their family eventually includes a daughter, as wel ...more
Tamsin Preece
Dec 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

Hashim arrives in Manchester on New Years Day, shortly after his marriage to Munira. Staying with a cousin, Rofikul we are soon introduced to all of the important characters in this story. A real strength of this book is the characterisation. All of them are well written, rounded and behave exactly as you’d expect.

I wasn’t aware of much of the history around the birth of Bangladesh and this book vividly described some of the atrocities. While difficult to read, i
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Nicholas Masters
‘This country, she thought disbelievingly, was full of absurd surprises’.

Shahnaz Ahsan does an incredible job in portraying the emotions of a new immigrant’s discovery of a foreign country. The awe, love, trepidation, fear and excitement was tangible and to be honest, as a migrant myself (in a completely different era and condition), a number of these emotions resonated nostalgically with myself.

You are certainly thrown into the family, and feel a part of the relations right up until the end. D
...more
Lucy
Jan 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
A story of immigration in the 1960s - Hashim comes over from East Pakistan to create a new life in the UK; he starts off in Manchester with his cousin Rofikul, who has made the same journey a few years previous. We follow the story of Hashim as he forges his way, bringing over his new wife, and creating a livelihood and family.

I really enjoyed this - all the characters are well developed and full of life - some to care more for, some less.
The enduring ties of family and homeland are central them
...more
Elise
Jan 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book which spans several decades and several generations of a family. Hashim moves to Manchester from East Pakistan. He is greeted by his cousin Rofikul. his plan is to only stay five years to send money back home to his family. But once he brings his wife over, life has other plans.
Well-written, this story is both moving and warming. It tells the tale of immigration, adapting to new ways of life, dealing with racism, familial love and hopes and tensions.
I enjoyed every s
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thewoollygeek (tea, cake, crochet & books)
An insightful and eye opening read on joining the UK in the 60s as a Bangladeshi family (at that time Pakistan) the culture shock, racism, different beliefs and day to day difference they have to learn to cope/deal with. Beautiful story, hard to read at times, uncomfortable to read the things they suffered and sad to say a lot is still common, such an engaging story. Recommended reading.

Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for a free copy for an honest opinion
Sam Donnan
Nov 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book really interested me because I was an Irish immigrant to came to Manchester around 20 years ago, so I could really relate to Hashim and Rofikul moving to the city; however their land was a lot further away and their welcome in England wasn't always a positive one. The writer gives us a wealth of characters that I enjoyed following their lives, and I'm quite sad as I write this to have finished the book. I will definitely look out for future work by Shahnaz Ahsan ☺️. ...more
Ronald English
Jan 21, 2021 rated it did not like it
Finishing writing a book is an achievement, getting one published is something else.
I don't honestly understand how this got a deal when much better books don't, but I'm not a publisher. Maybe they see something readers don't?
I found it quite badly written, in that it would constantly lose my attention. It doesn't flow, and nothing vital ever seems to happen. A story that might have been interesting ends up a dud.
I expect those that like it, like it because they think they should.
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Sara
Oct 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book. The characters and places are vividly drawn and stayed with me long after finishing the book. Multiple perspectives, timeframes and locations are woven together in a gripping story that explores how home, family and identity and perceived and constructed, especially among first and second generation migrants. Warm, moving and beautifully written.
Ally
Dec 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
For anyone looking for an absolute gem of a book to read, I can't recommend Hashim & Family enough.

It's an absolutely beautiful portrait of a family immigrating to the UK during the struggle for Bangladeshi independence, following family members in both countries over the course of 20 years.

And it's just absolutely humanizingly brilliant.
...more
 Sue
Mar 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Truly a book to lose yourself in. With an engaging and gentle writing style, this book was still able to deliver a strong message of how unwelcome immigrant families were (are?) made to feel. I enjoyed following the family over several decades, and was really interested in how everyone got on. This is a an accomplished debut novel, and I look forward to reading more from this author.
Sapna Chamaria
Feb 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
I simply loved this book! The characters , the story line, the plot, all of it absolutely wonderful! Keeps you thinking even after you have finished the book and leaves you wanting for more! Highly recommended!
J.
Mar 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
An interesting account of their experiences when they move to UK to live, how the culture is different and what they experience, racism, different belief systems etc. A very interesting insight and also harrowing at times.
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