This Green and Pleasant Land (Hardback)Ayisha Malik (author)
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The author of the side-splitting Sofia Khan is Not Obliged returns with an altogether meatier, yet still terrifically entertaining, offering. A thoughtful, humane novel about the proposed construction of a mosque in a sleepy English village, This Green and Pleasant Land channels post-Brexit concerns, and anxieties over cultural identity to forge a captivating, important slice of contemporary fiction.
Everyone has a place they call home. But who gets to decide where you belong?
For years Bilal Hasham and his wife Mariam have lived contented, quiet lives in the sleepy rural village of Babbel's End. Now all that is about to change.
On her deathbed, Bilal's mother reaches for his hand. Instead of whispering her final prayers, she gives him a task: build a mosque in his country village. Mariam is horrified by Bilal's plan. His friends and neighbours are unnerved. As outrage sweeps Babbel's End, battle lines are drawn. His mother's dying wish reveals deeper divisions in their village than Bilal had ever imagined. Soon Bilal is forced to choose between community and identity, between faith and friendship, between honouring his beloved mother's last wish and preserving what is held dear in the place that he calls home.
Number of pages: 464
Weight: 663 g
Dimensions: 240 x 162 x 40 mm
'Occasionally a book comes along that perfectly captures the prevailing mood. Ayisha Malik's third novel, about a Muslim family cosily embedded in the heart of middle-class white England, is a witty meditation on race politics, what it means to be British, and the complexities of personal identity. At the heart of this book lies the simple question: who decides to who and what we belong? When Bilal's mother passes, bequeathing him with a death-bed wish that he build a mosque in the green and pleasant village of West Plimpington, she sets off a chain of events that soon brings the entire community to loggerheads. Bilal, a semi-tragic figure undermined by his own wavering convictions, unwittingly finds himself a lightning rod for the outrage of family, friends, colleagues, and, ultimately, all those who view change as threat. With laugh-out-loud moments of absurdist comedy, poignant observations of human nature, and philosophical musings on the wisdom and nature of 'fitting in', this is Malik's best work to date. Satirical, controversial, knowing and essential.' - Vaseem Khan
'A novel that simmers with tenderness, charm and warmth as well as chilling, creeping dread. Malik's ability to juggle a cast of characters with a variety of nuanced (and at times, alarming) perspectives is a mark of her huge talent as a writer, and her flair for the absurd will come as a delight to fans of the Sofia Khan series. This Green and Pleasant Land is a gorgeous, deeply relevant book that is bound to ruffle a fair few feathers, but the right feathers, and for the right reasons.' - Caroline O'Donoghue
'I have to say it's not often I read a book as thoughtful, funny, excellently written and important as this one. I've always been a fan of Ayisha's writing, but this book takes her work to another level. I really hope this becomes a huge hit, because it deserves to be read by everyone. Witty, insightful, and shot through with pathos, Ayisha Malik's This Green and Pleasant Land is the prescient tale of Bilal, a middle-class British muslim and his quest to fulfil his mother's dying wish that he builds a mosque in the sleepy English village of Babbel's End. This book is laugh out loud funny, but is so much more than that. It challenges out preconceptions and our prejudices about what it means to be British in today's world. As such, in these turbulent times, it is also an important book. It's Malik's best work to date, and more importantly, for me, it's the standout book of the year.' - Abir Mukherjee
'Ayisha Malik has created both an intimate village dramedy and a study of the nature of grief, faith and belonging. This wonderful novel will make you laugh, make you cry and leave a mark on you long after you've finished reading it.' - Sarah Shaffi
'I loved Malik's first two novels, Sofia Khan is Not Obliged and its sequel The Other Half of Happiness, but This Green and Pleasant Land is completely different, and more than a pleasant surprise.' - Phoenix Magazine
'A gorgeous, funny, smart, uplifting story about seeking unity during times of division. Wish I could prescribe it to the country.' - Daisy Buchanan
'An inquiry into faith, identity and the meaning of home.' - Guardian
'In her strongest novel to date, Ayisha Malik finds the humour and humanity in the interplay between faith and family. Epic.' - Nikesh Shukla
'This Green and Pleasant Land is a clever and thoughtful novel about identity and belonging... the perfect novel for these Brexit-y times that we're living in.' - RED magazine
'Absolutely loved this. It's a feel-good novel which entertains, provokes and educates all at the same time, managing to capture the zeitgeist perfectly. . . The novel explores what it is to be British and challenges the reader's assumptions about just how welcoming and integrated our society is. It also offers touching insights into love and loss and the subtle ways in which they can influence our behaviour, while the relationship between firebrand Shelley and the wonderfully generous Rukhsana hints at the potential in each of us, offering a template for the way forward. This is not just Muslim and Christian, town and country, haves and have nots. It is about Britain today and given the remarkable political scene at present and the divisions that seem to be widening, This Green And Pleasant Land could hardly be more timely. An excellent contribution to a crucial and ongoing debate . . . as well as a thoroughly entertaining read.' - Graham Minett
'Exploring identity, belonging and divided loyalties between familial obligation and national identity, this is a prescient novel in our uncertain Brexit times.' - Cosmopolitan
'Overflowing with warmth, humour, and sharp-eyed observation.' - Ruth Ware
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“Engaging and Thought Provoking”
I was delighted to win a copy of this book. I’ve previously read and enjoyed one other book by Ayisha Malik so looked forward to another. This book had me hooked from the beginning, right up my street with the... More
I thoroughly enjoyed this book which looks at the concept of acceptance and 'other' within a small village community.
Upon her deathbed, Bilal's mum requests he builds a mosque in the small village in... More
I really didn’t think I was going to enjoy this book. My first impressions from the cover weren’t great, I don’t know why I just don’t like the artwork. But shame on me for judging before reading, because I loved this... More
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