The Bad Muslim Discount follows two characters--Anvar, from Pakistan, and Safwa, from Iraq--both Muslims who follow different paths to California. Anvar is a skeptic who pushes against the traditions of his family and faith, and as a man and a legal immigrant, has the freedom to live as he chooses--but not without cost.
Safwa is a young woman who illegally immigrates with her father and another man, both of whom are violent and controlling. Their stories eventually come together and the outcome rocks their lives and their community.
This was an excellent listen with just the right touch of humor to the serious examinations of identity, immigration, religion, and violence. I noticed criticism of the Muslim representation in this novel among some reviews on Goodreads, and I can't speak to that (I welcome thoughts or recommendations of other novels), but I enjoyed the journeys of these two particular characters.
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Following two families from Pakistan and Iraq in the 1990s to San Francisco in 2016, Bad Muslim Discount is a hilarious, timely, and provocative comic novel about being Muslim immigrants in modern America. For fans of Hanif Kureshi, Mira Jacob, and Mohammed Hanif.
It is 1995, and Anvar Faris is a restless, rebellious, and sharp-tongued boy doing his best to grow up in Karachi, Pakistan. As fundamentalists in the government become increasingly strident and the zealots next door start roaming the streets in gangs to help make Islam great again, his family decides, not quite unanimously, to start life over in California. The irony is not lost on Anvar that in America, his deeply devout mother and his model-Muslim brother are the ones who fit right in with the tightly knit and gossipy Desi community. Anvar wants more.
At the same time, thousands of miles away, Safwa, a young girl suffocating in war-torn Baghdad with her grief-stricken, conservative father will find a very different and far more dangerous path to America. These two narratives are intrinsically linked, and when their worlds come together, the fates of two remarkably different people intertwine and set off a series of events that rock their whole community to its core.
The Bad Muslim Discount is an irreverent, dramatic, and often hysterically funny debut novel by an amazing new voice. With deep insight, warmth, and an irreverent sense of humor, Syed Masood examines quirky and intense familial relationships, arranged marriage, Islamic identity, and how to live together in modern America.