Firstly I wish to thank Tracy Fenton of Compulsive Readers for inviting me on the Blog Tour for This Green and Pleasant Land by Ayisha Malik
ABOUT THE BOOK
SHORTLISTED FOR THE DIVERSE BOOK AWARDS
‘Tender, challenging and as warm as it was razor-sharp’ Beth O’Leary
‘If you’ve read Joanna Cannon I think you’ll love this’ Simon Savidge
‘A sublimely witty and touching story’ Jonathan Coe
The standout new novel by acclaimed author Ayisha Malik – perfect for fans of David Nicholls and Candice Carty-Williams.
In the sleepy village of Babel’s End, trouble is brewing.
Bilal Hasham is having a mid-life crisis. His mother has just died, and he finds peace lying in a grave he’s dug in the garden. His elderly Auntie Rukhsana has come to live with him, and forged an unlikely friendship with village busybody, Shelley Hawking. His wife Mariam is distant and distracted, and his stepson Haaris is spending more time with his real father.
Bilal’s mother’s dying wish was to build a mosque in Babel’s End, but when Shelley gets wind of this scheme, she unleashes the forces of hell. Will Bilal’s mosque project bring his family and his beloved village together again, or drive them apart?
Warm, wise and laugh-out-loud funny, This Green and Pleasant Land is a life-affirming look at love, faith and the meaning of home.
Bilal Hasham, or Bill as he is called locally, thought of himself as one of the community where he and his family have lived in Babbel’s End for the last eight years. He has been involved with village projects, being part of the church and even a member of the parish council but now he is doubting what true acceptance really means. Have the people that he has called his friends really felt the same as he has over the years or was it just for show.
Bilal is just one of the nicest guys you could wish to meet but when he is at his mother’s bedside in Birmingham, her last wish is for him to build a mosque for her back at Babbel’s End, something the village committee and residents are appalled at! People who he had called friends turn on him, while others take up a cowards way to show their disapproval. What is the true cost of the mosque going to be for Bilal and his family and the village where they live?
There are some cracking characters in this story, people that I had to smile about that I could ‘recognise in my own village. There is nothing like village life, which is the total opposite of town life where people walk on by. Being part of a village is knowing everyone’s routines, quirks and schedules. Life revolves around the village hall and church. Poor Bilal’s confidence in himself had been shattered but he gets a determination and strength in him that had never stirred before.
I felt so saddened for him, defensive for some of the villagers, disgusted by others and loved how language didn’t have to be a barrier where friendship is concerned. The story made me laugh out at parts so many times but it made me think too. It is a story that gets a message over about what is truly important. I loved the build-up and the ending of the story. A cracking way to round it all up.
I wish to thank the publisher and NetGalley for an e-copy of this book which I have reviewed honestly.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ayisha Malik is a writer and editor, living in South London. She holds a BA in English Literature and a First Class MA in Creative Writing. Her novels Sofia Khan is Not Obliged and The Other Half of Happiness, starring ‘the Muslim Bridget Jones’, were met with great critical acclaim, and Sofia Khan is Not Obliged was chosen as 2019’s Cityread book. Ayisha was a WHSmith Fresh Talent Pick, shortlisted for the Asian Women of Achievement Award and Marie Claire’s Future Shapers Awards. Ayisha is also the ghost writer for The Great British Bake Off winner, Nadiya Hussain. This Green and Pleasant Land is her latest novel.