REVIEW: This Green and Pleasant Land, Ayisha Malik #BLOGTOUR

Saturday, 17 October 2020

Accountant Bilal Hasham and his journalist wife, Mariam, plod along contentedly in the sleepy, chocolate box village they've lived in for eight years. Then Bilal is summoned to his dying mother's bedside in Birmingham. Sakeena Hasham is not long for this world but refuses to leave it until she ensures that her son remembers who he is: a Muslim, however much he tries to ignore it. She has a final request. Instead of whispering her prayers in her dying moments, she instructs Bilal to go home to his village, Babbels End, and build a mosque. 

Mariam is horrified. The villagers are outraged. How can a grieving Bilal choose between honouring his beloved mum's last wish and preserving everything held dear in the village he calls home? But it turns out home means different things to different people. Battle lines are drawn and this traditional little community becomes the colourful canvas on which the most current and fundamental questions of identity, friendship, family and togetherness are played out. What makes us who we are, who do we want to be, and how far would we go to fight for it?

Do you know what I love the most about this book? Its cover. Putting the sumptuous writing inside of it aside, This Green and Pleasant Land’s packaging truly conveys what it is: a cozy British novel, simultaneously as new and as old as time. 

But really, it is only in the way that Ayisha Malik manages to convey this message/genre/tone on its inside pages, that truly makes this book one of its kind and out of this world. That is because, This Green and Pleasant Land is as rich and as multifaceted as life (and life in contemporary Britain in particular) itself. 

Malik somehow manages to be witty, warm, moving and sharply astute all at the same time. And, through her expertly-crafted characters and their richly-woven web of interactions, she paints a picture so complex that it surely must not just be a work of fiction, but steeped in reality. 

It is truly a literary tour-de-force: each chapter, each page; each carefully, perfectly chosen word. Certainly a new novel (and insanely talented author) that we need to hold in our hearts moving forward. And, if Malik is not a star after this, I will be very much surprised. 

Thank you, thank you, thank you to Tracy Fenton and Zaffre Books for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Head on over to for this book, as well as all of the others featured in my reviews, complete with the added bonuses of free worldwide shipping and bringing a little joy to my life.

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