I didn’t make any official goals this year but one thing I’m trying to do is read more “literary fiction” and books by men of color.
The Bad Muslim Discount is a carefully observed coming-of-age story of two young Muslims–Anvar, a sarcastic Pakistani immigrant in San Francisco, and Safwa, a young Iraqi woman burdened with endless tragedy in a country torn apart by war.
Starting during the first Iraq war in the early 90s and ending during the cusp of the 2016 election, Massood weaves a compelling story that is equal parts irreverent and heartbreaking.
My biggest disappointment in this book is the way Safwa’s character development and agency took a backseat once she and Anvar’s lives intersect in the latter half. The two end up in a complicated scheme and by the end of it, Anvar gets what feels like unearned reverence and character development while Safwa’s ending just felt like an afterthought.
The audiobook is narrated by television actors Pej Vahdat and Hend Ayoub. This appears to be the first audiobook either of them has done and they do a remarkable job. Their narrative choices complemented each other perfectly. Vahdat played Arastoo Vaziri on the Fox show Bones. I used to love this show and did not recognize his voice at all. He is really good at doing different accents…which is funny if you know anything about his character on Bones.
It was interesting to read this book after listening to the Trojan Horse Affair podcast. It deals with some similar ideas about inter-community conflicts and public perception of Muslim communities.
I’m a lifelong reader who started blogging about YA books in 2011 but now I read in just about every genre! I love YA coming of age stories, compelling memoirs and genre bending SFF. You can find me talking all things romance at Romance and Sensibility.