This Green and Pleasant Land

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What to expect

Timely, humorous and deeply moving. This is the absolute standout new novel by acclaimed author (and 2018 Asian Woman of Achievement nominee) Ayisha Malik

For years Bilal Hasham and his wife Mariam have lived contented, quiet lives in the sleepy rural village of Babbel’s End. Now all that is about to change.

On her deathbed, Bilal’s mother reaches for his hand. Instead of whispering her final prayers, she gives him a task: build a mosque in his country village.

Mariam is horrified by Bilal’s plan. His friends and neighbours are unnerved. As outrage sweeps Babbel’s End, battle lines are drawn. His mother’s dying wish reveals deeper divisions in their village than Bilal had ever imagined.

Soon Bilal is forced to choose between community and identity, between faith and friendship, between honouring his beloved mother’s last wish and preserving what is held dear in the place that he calls home.

‘At the heart of this book lies the simple question: who decides to who and what we belong? This is Malik’s best work to date – satirical, controversial, knowing and essential’ – Vaseem Khan

This Green and Pleasant Land, a novel that simmers with tenderness, is a deeply relevant book that is bound to ruffle a fair few feathers, but the right feathers, and for the right reasons’ – Caroline O’Donoghue

‘Thoughtful, funny, excellently written and deserves to be read by everyone . . . it’s the standout book of the year’ – Abir Mukherjee

Critics Review

  • 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 importnat 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
  • In her strongest novel to date, Ayisha Malik finds the humour and humanity in the interplay between faith and family. Epic.

    Nikesh Shukla
  • 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

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