Sameer Rahim - Hodder & Stoughton

Sameer Rahim

Sameer Rahim has worked in literary journalism for ten years, and is now managing editor of Prospect Magazine, having been formerly arts and books editor. In 2013, his essay In the Shadow of the Scroll: reconstructing Islam's origins won a William Hazlitt essay prize.
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Asghar and Zahra

Sameer Rahim
Sameer Rahim

Asghar and Zahra follows an unlikely couple through the first year of their tumultuous marriage.Asghar and Zahra were born in the same British Muslim community in west London; both are trying to accommodate their home culture with the world around them. But the superficial similarities between them do not tell the whole story. Their families are rivals involved in running two different mosques: Asghar's is more traditional, while Zahra's is more liberal. Asghar struggles with integrating: he is a shy, closed personality. Zahra is an ambitious and intelligent woman who can't wait to leave her community behind.Told from both characters' points of view, the novel opens on their wedding day. Asghar sees in Zahra an opening to a world he has never mastered; Zahra sees in Asghar the embodiment of the community she has guiltily abandoned. Each is attracted to what they imagine the other to be - and each discovers, to their cost, that their projections do not match reality...A funny, sympathetic and very human novel about the difficulties of reconciling the sometimes conflicting demands of family, religion and society, Asghar and Zahra is the debut of a striking new talent.