K.J. Charles's Reviews > This Green and Pleasant Land

This Green and Pleasant Land by Ayisha Malik
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bookshelves: british, contemporary

An absolute cracker. Bilal is a very-British-indeed Muslim living in an Ambridge-like idyllic village, on the parish council, all that. He believes he's entirely at home, until his mother's dying wish is for him to build a mosque, he suggests it to the village, and the fault lines start to show.

This is a tremendous ensemble book--uncertain Bilal, his frustrated wife, her bereaved best friend, the angry village busybodies, the less-good-than-he-hopes vicar. Absorbing, often very funny indeed as one would expect from this author while tackling some really serious stuff abut the hurt done to Bilal and his family. Written with massive kindness and compassion (which is not the same as softness, there's a lot of sharp edges) throughout.

A fantastic book about community and family and expectations, and being middle aged and wondering where your life started drifting away from you, and realising that other people are really not as good as you hoped but in fact nor are you. Which is a lot, along with racism and Islamophobia and insularity, and makes it all the more a triumph that this reads as fluently and enjoyably as a light comedy. A terrific accomplishment.
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Reading Progress

January 24, 2020 – Shelved
January 24, 2020 – Shelved as: british
January 24, 2020 – Shelved as: contemporary
Started Reading
January 25, 2020 – Finished Reading

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