This Green and Pleasant Land

This Green and Pleasant Land : Winner of The Diverse Book Awards 2020

3.97 (1,462 ratings by Goodreads)
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3.97 (1,462 ratings by Goodreads)

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'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.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 464 pages
  • 162 x 240 x 40mm | 663g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1785767542
  • 9781785767548
  • 229,583

Review quote

I absolutely devoured this book . . . It was tender, challenging and as warm as it was razor-sharp - I was in awe of Ayisha's ability to cut you to the core in one paragraph and make you laugh in the next. Every single character was fascinating, and so many of them stayed with me after finishing the book that I was basically carrying the whole village round in my head for a while . . . * Beth O'Leary, author of The Flatshare * Malik was another of last year's standout discoveries for me . . . she writes about the Muslim experience of living in England from the inside, and in this novel constructs a sublimely witty and touching story . . . It has an Ealing comedy vibe to it, but is of course utterly contemporary, offering many clear-eyed perspectives on the fractured, mutually-uncomprehending country we have somehow managed to create for ourselves * Jonathan Coe * Occasionally a book comes along that perfectly captures the prevailing mood. Ayisha Malik's third novel, about a Muslim family cosily embedded in the heart of middle-class white England, is a witty meditation on race politics, what it means to be British, and the complexities of personal identity. At the heart of this book lies the simple question: who decides to who and what we belong? When Bilal's mother passes, bequeathing him with a death-bed wish that he build a mosque in the green and pleasant village of West Plimpington, she sets off a chain of events that soon brings the entire community to loggerheads. Bilal, a semi-tragic figure undermined by his own wavering convictions, unwittingly finds himself a lightning rod for the outrage of family, friends, colleagues, and, ultimately, all those who view change as threat. With laugh-out-loud moments of absurdist comedy, poignant observations of human nature, and philosophical musings on the wisdom and nature of 'fitting in', this is Malik's best work to date. Satirical, controversial, knowing and essential * Vaseem Khan * A novel that simmers with tenderness, charm and warmth as well as chilling, creeping dread. Malik's ability to juggle a cast of characters with a variety of nuanced (and at times, alarming) perspectives is a mark of her huge talent as a writer, and her flair for the absurd will come as a delight to fans of the Sofia Khan series. This Green and Pleasant Land is a gorgeous, deeply relevant book that is bound to ruffle a fair few feathers, but the right feathers, and for the right reasons * Caroline O'Donoghue * I have to say it's not often I read a book as thoughtful, funny, excellently written and important as this one. I've always been a fan of Ayisha's writing, but this book takes her work to another level. I really hope this becomes a huge hit, because it deserves to be read by everyone. Witty, insightful, and shot through with pathos, Ayisha Malik's This Green and Pleasant Land is the prescient tale of Bilal, a middle-class British muslim and his quest to fulfil his mother's dying wish that he builds a mosque in the sleepy English village of Babbel's End. This book is laugh out loud funny, but is so much more than that. It challenges out preconceptions and our prejudices about what it means to be British in today's world. As such, in these turbulent times, it is also an important book. It's Malik's best work to date, and more importantly, for me, it's the standout book of the year * Abir Mukherjee * Ayisha Malik has created both an intimate village dramedy and a study of the nature of grief, faith and belonging. This wonderful novel will make you laugh, make you cry and leave a mark on you long after you've finished reading it * Sarah Shaffi * I loved Malik's first two novels, Sofia Khan is Not Obliged and its sequel The Other Half of Happiness, but This Green and Pleasant Land is completely different, and more than a pleasant surprise * Phoenix Magazine * A gorgeous, funny, smart, uplifting story about seeking unity during times of division. Wish I could prescribe it to the country * Daisy Buchanan * An inquiry into faith, identity and the meaning of home * Guardian * In her strongest novel to date, Ayisha Malik finds the humour and humanity in the interplay between faith and family. Epic * Nikesh Shukla * This Green and Pleasant Land is a clever and thoughtful novel about identity and belonging... the perfect novel for these Brexit-y times that we're living in * RED magazine * Absolutely loved this. It's a feel-good novel which entertains, provokes and educates all at the same time, managing to capture the zeitgeist perfectly. . . The novel explores what it is to be British and challenges the reader's assumptions about just how welcoming and integrated our society is. It also offers touching insights into love and loss and the subtle ways in which they can influence our behaviour, while the relationship between firebrand Shelley and the wonderfully generous Rukhsana hints at the potential in each of us, offering a template for the way forward. This is not just Muslim and Christian, town and country, haves and have nots. It is about Britain today and given the remarkable political scene at present and the divisions that seem to be widening, This Green And Pleasant Land could hardly be more timely. An excellent contribution to a crucial and ongoing debate . . . as well as a thoroughly entertaining read. * Graham Minett * Exploring identity, belonging and divided loyalties between familial obligation and national identity, this is a prescient novel in our uncertain Brexit times. * Cosmopolitan * Overflowing with warmth, humour, and sharp-eyed observation * Ruth Ware * Darkly funny * RED magazine (summer reads) * The author explores issues of faith and identity with a lovely, light, comic touch and gentle wisdom. * Saga Magazine * A novel that touches our capacity for human sympathy and connection in important ways. * The Times * A gently satirical, very contemporary tale of family, faith and friendship. * Sunday Mirror * A modern comedy of manners ... Malik's great gift is to present seemingly insoluble issues of faith and intolerance in a light, accessible manner. * The Guardian * This wise, warm-hearted novel deserves to be shared by reading groups across the cities and shires. * The Sunday Times * Easily her best work to date ... a joy to read. * The New Arab *
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About Ayisha Malik

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.
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Rating details

1,462 ratings
3.97 out of 5 stars
5 30% (433)
4 44% (643)
3 21% (311)
2 4% (55)
1 1% (20)
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