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Asghar and Zahra: A John Murray Original

Sameer Rahim



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John Murray
11 June 2019
Fiction & Literature; Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945); Adult & contemporary romance; Family & relationships
LONGLISTED FOR THE DESMOND ELLIOTT PRIZE Childhood friends Asghar and Zahra were born into the same British Muslim community in west London. But they grow up into very different people. Asghar is a shy boy nervous of stepping outside his family's comfort zone, while Zahra is an ambitious woman who has just finished her degree at Cambridge.

The novel opens on their wedding day as friends and family wonder what could possibly have brought this odd couple together. After a comically disastrous honeymoon, painful secrets from the past throw the relationship further off-balance. And then there's the sinister preacher taking a keen interest in them . . .

A funny, sympathetic and very human novel about the first year of a marriage, and the difficulties of reconciling the sometimes conflicting demands of family, religion and society, Asghar and Zahra is the debut of a striking new talent.
By:   Sameer Rahim
Imprint:   John Murray
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 215mm,  Width: 136mm,  Spine: 22mm
Weight:   328g
ISBN:   9781473697225
ISBN 10:   1473697220
Pages:   304
Publication Date:   11 June 2019
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Sameer Rahim was born and lives in London. After reading English at Cambridge, he worked at the London Review of Books then the Daily Telegraph, becoming Deputy Review Editor. He is now Managing Editor of Prospect magazine, and has also written for the New York Times, the New Statesman and Apollo. Asghar and Zahra is his first novel.

Reviews for Asghar and Zahra: A John Murray Original

A wonderful achievement; an invigorating reminder of the power fiction has to challenge lazy stereotypes, and stretch the reader's heart - Guardian A searching and funny debut novel ... elegant, provocative and clear-eyed - Daily Telegraph A sparkling debut . . . a novel of charm and compassion - New Statesman A tragicomic account of a doomed marriage . . . Rahim's wit propels the novel. Asghar and Zahrasends up everything from piety to quintessential 'Englishness' and casual Islamophobia - Literary Review A fascinating read - Mail on Sunday Zahra is running away from her past, and good girls don't have pasts. Sameer Rahim shows the differences between them with wit and tenderness, and a wry lemon-twist of satire - The Times One of the most powerful ideas in the novel, which Rahim handles with great deftness and emotional subtlety, is how Muslim women themselves can act as transmitters of honour culture, even while they rail against it and depict Muslim men as its primary upholders and beneficiaries - TLS Funny and wise, and beautifully written - New Statesman, Books of the Year

  • Joint winner of Desmond Elliott Prize 2020 (UK)

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