This Green and Pleasant Land by Ayisha Malik

This Green and Pleasant Land

Ayisha Malik

A great book to read on holiday amidst the confusion of Brexit. Bilal and his family are British Muslims living peacefully in a rural village. Everything changes when Bilal's dying mother asks him to build a mosque - and there is much opposition from the previously friendly villagers. A sensitive and humorous novel with a serious theme, it challenges our sense of identity and our racist prejudices, our sense of 'home' and being British.

When he'd looked at her on the day of her funeral, he'd suddenly felt as if, in life, he had understood nothing at all. For six months now he'd been involved in a desperate attempt to forget the remnants of her death: grief, regret, too much Tupperware and her dying bequest. 'Build them a mosque.' Of all the things in the world. Since her death he'd donated a lot of money to their local mosque in Birmingham. Wasn't that almost the same thing? He'd even sponsored a child in Uganda. It was clear that his mum didn't know what she'd been talking about. Babbel's End was certainly not Africa. On a mission or not, Bilal wasn't here to colonise anyone. It would be a dreadful business not to have moved on from that kind of thing. Taking over things, after all, was incredibly impolite. But his mother's dying wish kept coming back to him after every cycle of his own reasoning, beginning again at the point of his guilt.
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