Your roots can always lead you home…
Amjad cradles his baby daughter in the middle of the night. He has no time to mourn his wife’s death. Saahil and Zahra, his two small children, are relying on him. Amjad vows to love and protect them always.
Years later, Saahil and his best friend, Ehsan, have finished university and are celebrating with friends. But when the night turns dangerous, its devastating effects will ripple through the years to come.
Zahra’s world is alight with politics and activism. But she is now her father’s only source of comfort, and worries she’ll never have time for her own aspirations. Life has taken her small family in different directions – will they ever find their way back to each other?
The Family Tree is the moving story of a British Muslim family full of love, laughter and resilience as well as all the faults, mistakes and stubborn loyalties which make us human.
Title: The Family Tree
By: Sairish Hussain
Published By: HQ
Publication Date: February 20, 2020
Format: Hardcover, Paperback
Genre: Literary Fiction
I’m not sure I can adequately express all the amazing parts of this novel, but, I am going to attempt to in this review.
Do you know how everyone [okay not everyone, but a lot] is going on and on about ‘American Dirt.’ [No matter their opinion]
I have this book to raise up in its stead. I will shout from the rooftops. This is the book we need today, this is the next great work of literary fiction told by an own voices author, and a VERY important voice [as all own voices are].
This book is written by a British Muslim, about British Muslims, and the insight that we’re allowed, for those of us who are not British Muslim, is a gift and a chance to at least understand where we come into play in this narrative because let’s face it, I don’t think I could ever fully understand from someone else’s point of view, I can only try and grasp and understand my own role and the weight of their own perhaps.
But, enough about my point of view and understanding, onward to the book.
This is a multigenerational story about a British Muslim family who suffers from tragedies, inequalities, racism, fear, loss, and so much more. BUT this is not a story of despair only, on the flip side of the things, we have…the beauty and love of a religion, the acceptance of cultural differences between different communities [say, Zahra’s best friend, or, the gym owner that Saahil encounters], the love of family, hope, strength, and reunions.
THE BEST PART for me?!
This was also a story about a single father.
Do you know how rare it is to find a non-Hallmark plotline about a single Father? I LOVED it. Amjad was also my favourite character, he was kind, strong, susceptible to mistakes, full of love, and grieving in the only ways he knew how. He was such a wonderfully written character, and in truth, they all were. Of course, he is one of the older generations in this book, and there’s also his mother, so we see their views set against the two siblings, Saahil and Zahra.
Saahil was filled with anger and passion in his youth but at times maybe seemed misdirected? I’m not sure that’s the right term. But, he does also go through the most dramatic changes, and not wanting to spoil anything, I’ll leave it at that with him.
Zahra though also filled with a passion, it’s not really anger, it’s facts, research, eyes wide open to a world where people like her have been shoved aside, a minority voice that she shouts from the rooftops. She’s a political activist, runs her own blog, and tries her best to know everything and share that knowledge, knowledge is power after all. I absolutely adored her, and she handled things so well when we take a look at what she’s been through over her life. The loss of her mother as a baby, the tragedy that strikes when she’s a child, and the information she deals with finding out about a family member as she’s starting to become an adult.
Each character is fully fleshed out, time skips and we watch them grow and change and go through dark periods and healing, it’s beautiful, emotional, and so freakin important in this day and age.
I put this book up there with The Beekeeper of Aleppo on the books I’ve read that have blown me away.
5 cups of coffee from me, thank you to HQ for a copy of this in exchange for my honest opinion as part of the blog tour.
About the Author
Sairish Hussain was born and brought up in Bradford, West Yorkshire. She studied English Language and Literature at the University of Huddersfield and progressed onto an MA in Creative Writing. Sairish completed her PhD in 2019 after being awarded the university’s Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarship. The Family Tree is her debut novel and she is now writing her second book.
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