Title: The Bad Muslim Discount: A Novel
Author: Syed M. Masood
Release Date: February 2nd 2021
Genre: Historical Literary Fiction
“Masood’s novel presents a stereoscopic, three-dimensional view of contemporary Muslim America: the way historical conflict in the Middle East lingers in individual lives, the way gossip travels in a close-knit immigrant community.” The New York Times Book Review
Following two families from Pakistan and Iraq in the 1990s to San Francisco in 2016, The Bad Muslim Discount is an inclusive, comic novel about Muslim immigrants finding their way in modern America.
It is 1995, and Anvar Faris is a restless, rebellious, and sharp-tongued boy doing his best to grow up in Karachi, Pakistan. As fundamentalism takes root within the social order and the zealots next door attempt to make Islam great again, his family decides, not quite unanimously, to start life over in California. Ironically, Anvar’s deeply devout mother and his model-Muslim brother adjust easily to life in America, while his fun-loving father can’t find anyone he relates to. For his part, Anvar fully commits to being a bad Muslim.
At the same time, thousands of miles away, Safwa, a young girl living in war-torn Baghdad with her grief-stricken, conservative father will find a very different and far more dangerous path to America. When Anvar and Safwa’s worlds collide as two remarkable, strong-willed adults, their contradictory, intertwined fates will rock their community, and families, to their core.
The Bad Muslim Discount is an irreverent, poignant, and often hysterically funny debut novel by an amazing new voice. With deep insight, warmth, and an irreverent sense of humor, Syed M. Masood examines universal questions of identity, faith (or lack thereof), and belonging through the lens of Muslim Americans.
When I read the synopsis for the book, it piqued my interest. This is definitely a genre I don’t typically read but I wanted to give it a try. The beginning is slow but picks up the pace after awhile. It was both interesting and heart wrenching to read about each of their journeys. The story telling is great and the characters are as well. Not sure how I felt about Anvar but I did find his humor entertaining throughout most of the story. Safwa was a favorite A survivor for sure. Anvar’s father is a hoot!
I realize there are mixed reviews on this book. I went into this book expecting a good story and that’s what I got. I don’t believe that all Muslims are like the ones portrayed in this book. I DO believe there are people in every race and or religion that question why things are the way they are. I myself did that with my own upbringing. That being said, I truly enjoyed this book. It’s well written and I loved the different cultures that were woven in. I would recommend this book for anyone wanting to read outside of their comfort zone. I give this 4 stars.
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion*