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The Family Tree by Sairish Hussian
And I have to say, this book is something else!
A story focused in Bradford about a non-steryotpical family that deals with Drugs, Homelessness, Alcholism, Activism and Mental Health?!
Sign me up!
I think I’m getting spoiled!
First I shared about Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows which was set in Southall, and The Family Tree is based in Bradford!
Related Post: 7 South Asian Books NOT about Marriage
If you’re not from the North of England, you won’t understand why this is such a big deal but a story that represents me and the people I grew up with is HUGE!
And that too set in the 1990’s with British Muslim characters comfortable in their own skin.
Now i’m an honourary Yorkshire lass having only moved to the county in 2000 and then moved out to London after I got married, BUT I’m probably more familiar with the winding streets of Yorkshire than I am with London.
And it is so good to read about the place I still think of as home being featured in a book about a modern Muslim Pakistani family that goes against the grain.
What is the book about?
Amjad has lost his wife Neelam on the day their daughter Zahra is born and has to go home to his son with a newborn and no clue of what to do next.
All he has left of Neelam is a beautiful printed scarf she wore to go to the hospital with a family of peacocks.
As time goes by and Zahra learns to speak, she names the peacock overlooking the scene as her mother.
The scarf has a huge part to play in the book as Amjad’s son Saahil ends up taking it with him when a fatal event after a night out celebrating with his friends ends in tragedy.
The ripple effects from that event lead to a story that spans another decade with a surprising and unexpected twist and a final ending that sees the story come full circle.
Would I recommend it?
YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK!
I think this book has quickly made it into my top 5 books I read this year because it is so engrossing but beautifully told.
Hussain has a way of getting into the heads of every family member and friend featured and you will find people you know in this book.
Everyone from Ammi, Amjad’s mother, to Zahra are well thought and written.
It’s hard to believe this book is a debut novel and on the Zoom call with the author, we learned she is working on Book Number 2!
And I cannot wait to read that one too!