Sunday, 13 May 2012

The Reluctant Mullah by Sagheer Afzal

A funny and, often, very moving book. Dadaji, the family patriarch of a Pakistani family, decides that it is time for Musa to get married to his cousin. But there is a get out clause. If Musa can find someone preferable in 30 days, he can escape the arranged marriage. The only problem is that Musa is a idealistic dreamer, looking for a Cinderella. 

It provided a fascinating insight into the Islamic world of marriage, gender and family relations, as well as being a good read. An awful lot has to be explained about Islam, and the need for such a lot of the book to be devoted to discussing it shows up your average Western readers incompetence more than the authors. The discussion of it does interfere with the flow of the story somewhat, but is just as interesting in a different way, for example, a discussion on the veil from a female-only point of view. 

A wonderful cast of characters, and a skilful blend of the light and frothy with darker material. Not bad for a first novel. 8/10. 

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