Cover Image: Hashim & Family

Hashim & Family

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Member Reviews

Hashim & Family was beautiful. Gut wrenching, unflinching, honest, and beautiful. It was a privilege to read this story. Hashim & Family follows a number of threads, taking place over time in a changing world. But essentially boils down to what families are made of, and what they mean, love. Hashim's family is an unexpected one, brought together by culture and circumstance but there is no doubting the love of which it is made.

Be aware that this story is set during a time of war and racially charged violence and shies aware from neither of these things. There is a lot of graphic imagery, however, if this is something you feel you can manage it has a big heart.
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So many strong themes in this story about what family means, its strength and how it ties us. Set against this are the struggles that follow when two cultures conflict over family responsibilities and the difficulties in trying to reconcile them. Alongside this, a narrative plays out about migration, identity and attempts at assimilation. But above all, is a sense of collective shame that  so many of the difficulties encountered were needlessly generated in the reader's lifetime.
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A touching story about family ties and the meaning of home. 

In winter 1960, Hashim leaves his homeland and his new bride, Munira, to seek his fortune in Manchester, England. Under the guidance of his cousin. Rofikul, he finds a job and learns how to fit in with the values and culture of British life. After a short while, Munira arrives to join him and, after quickly befriending Rofikul’s Irish girlfriend Helen, the group starts to put down roots and become a real family. Unfortunately, when war breaks out in Pakistan, their family ties and loyalty may be tested. 

This was an extraordinarily well-written book spanning multiple decades and two continents and touching on several important themes, such as cultural differences, racial violence, family loyalty and belonging. The characters were so vivid and real that I felt I really knew them as people – in fact, I would say they were some of the most richly crafted book characters I have ever come across. I felt true sympathy and compassion with Hashim and his family’s struggles, elated at their joys and hurt by their suffering. The story is engaging and manages to educate the reader on several issues without being heavy-handed or overly depressing. Despite some truly sad moments, it ends on a hopeful note and left me feeling like my eyes had been opened to the struggles experienced by migrants moving to the UK. 

My one criticism would be that the section about the war in Pakistan, whilst still very interesting, felt a bit out of place in the book. It was written slightly differently than the rest of the novel and felt strangely detached and more like a historical account than a story. This distracted slightly from the central characters and the bulk of the book. However, it was still shocking to read about the horrors and atrocities committed on the Bengali people. I have previously read stories that focus on this time period and it is something I am definitely keen to learn more about, as it seems like a fascinating but deeply sad time. 

In conclusion, this was a beautifully written novel which educated and moved me as well as providing entertainment. I love reading about different cultures and would recommend this story to anyone who feels the same. 


Elite Reviewing Group received a copy of the book to review.
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Set in Manchester of all places, the town I've been calling home for a few years now, follows Rofikul, Hashim and their families over a significant number of years. A family saga if you wish, with all their up and downs; happy and sad moments; achievements and disillusions. Add to that racial tensions and the 1970 anti immigration movement/riots (at first I thought this was a modern view being applied to that period of time, but after googling a bit I discovered how wrong I was!) and the story of Bangladesh independence.
Interesting characters and very real, I'd say. I happen to know and have interacted extensively with the Bangladeshi community, therefore Shahnaz did a brilliant job at portraying her inner knowledge of this community through her characters. At the same time I also thought it was a bit stereotypical but I do believe there's truth behind every stereotype so really readers should't dismiss the character on that basis.
I've deduced a star because of the stereotypes and the fact that the book ends on a positive note. It was so real throughout and I would have liked the end to be just as truthful and real.
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Set in 1960in Manchester the book covers a couple of decades and generations of a family. Hashim leaves East Pakistan to live in Manchester. His plan is to live there for five years and to send money home to his family. Hashim lives with his cousin, Rofikul has been in this country for a few years. Hashim eventually brings his wife over to live.

This is a story about immigration and how they adapted to their new lives. The book covers the atrocities of Bangladesh. These parts were quite hard to read. The story also covers the violence the immigrants faced in this country. The characters are all likeable. This is a well written, heartwarming and heartbreaking story. 

I would like to thank NetGalley, John Murray Press and the author Shahnaz Ahsam for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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4.5 Stars

Following the lives of Hashim, his wife Munira, his cousin Rofikul, and his cousin's girlfriend Helen, Hashim & Family is a thoroughly engaging look at what family means as well as tackling issues of migration and the meaning of home.

I didn't know what to expect when I opened this book but I quickly became invested in the lives of all of the characters so much so that by the end of the story I was wondering what next and imagining amazing futures for them all. Each character, has a fully developed history, no matter how central they are to the plot; I imagine pages and pages of notes that Ahsan wrote about each character which did not make it into this book and could have easily doubled its length.

Spanning 20 years, this book does not shy away from looking at war in East Pakistan which lead to the formation of Bangladesh as an independent country as well as the violence that immigrants in the UK faced and continue to face. There is also an undeniable warmth to this book as we see the many triumphs of Hashim's family through the years. I especially loved the strength of Munira who is both a devoted wife and fiercely independent. 

The only thing that would have pushed this book from a 4.5 to 5 star read for me - and really it is splitting hairs - is that I would have liked to seen a bit more of what became of some of the characters. There are a couple of secondary characters that the reader spends some time getting to know but then it feels as though the book finishes without an conclusion to their stories one way or another. 

This book will make you cry but it will also fill your heart with so much love. This is the perfect book to lose yourself in for a few days and just become a part of Hashim's family.
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What an incredible and moving read. The characters are great and you really feel for them and their story. Highly recommend this book.
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If there's one word for this book it's"duality". But, one word fails to capture the nuances and details that make this such a glorious read.

Hassim & Family covers over 20 years of, well, Hassim and his family's lives. In 1960 Hassim leaves, what was then the Dominion of Pakistan, and moves to England. Meeting up with his cousin, Rofikul, in Manchester. The story follows their lives and those of their friends and family.  It's simple but fascinating. There are the inevitable cultural differences between England and their home, but there are more as the world changes, with the birth of Bangladesh far away and the perceptions of immigrants as time elapses.

Which brings us to the most powerful duality in this book. The family bonds are beautiful - there is a warmth in the writing that is comforting, especially in our turbulent world today. And yet it is also punctuated by horrific violence - both racist attacks in the UK and the Bangladesh Liberation War half the globe away. Ahsan seems to offer them out of necessity; aware that these stories can't be told without such events no matter how unpleasant. And, somehow she manages to still find ways to deliver love and hope despite the brutality. It is disturbing, saddening, and incredibly well written. At least from my perspective anyway - those more closely affected by such attacks undoubtedly have a clearer perspective on their representation in this book and I defer to their judgement.

But I do return to that sense of optimism that runs through the entire book. A sense that, no matter what is happening, no matter how much hurt there is, this little family, unconventional and non-traditional as it may be, can rally around and care for each other. That time and distance can't break such bonds. It is wonderful and heartwarming.

It's carefully written, and the author shows a deep connection with her characters. It's unpretentious and even a little indulgent. Pick this up and enjoy it. It's a luxury and a treat right now, but one that can bring a little cheer despite everything.
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Oh wow what a brilliant book and such an interesting story.  The characters were so well described I thought they could be my friends. I was bereft when the book ended as I want to keep abreast with all these people’s stories - please can we have a follow up. The story made me cry in places and made me angry in others.  I was unaware of the horrors of the liberation of Bangladesh but it’s a part of history I would like to investigate more.  A very well deserved five stars!
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Spanning several decades this book tells the story of immigrants from East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) 
It’s very moving, thoughtful and even now I have finished it I want more. In fact the way it ended there could easily be more.
I really enjoyed this book.
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A really good and interesting read. I found this story fascinating. Hashim and his family face many challenges moving to England and establishing a life there. It is a story that will stay in my mind for some time.

Thank you to Netgalley for my copy.
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An insightful and eye opening read on joining the UK in the 60s as a Bangladeshi family (at that time Pakistan) the culture shock, racism, different beliefs and day to day difference they have to learn to cope/deal with. Beautiful story, hard to read at times, uncomfortable to read the things they suffered and sad to say a lot is still common, such an engaging story.  Recommended reading.

Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for a free copy for an honest opinion
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An interesting account of their experiences when they move to UK to live, how the culture is different and what they experience, racism, different belief systems etc.  A very interesting insight and also harrowing at times.
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An interesting and enjoyable story that keeps you involved from start to finish. The characters were interesting and believable. Recommended to those readers who enjoy reading this genre.
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I enjoyed this book very much.  Written with such warmth and compassion, I found myself drawn into the family and their trials and tribulations.  A beautifully written and well realised story of what it is like to leave your world behind and try and start again in an unfamiliar, and often hostile, environment.
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An important book which gives a fictional account of being an immigrant from East Pakistan in the 60s. Hashim intends to make enough money and return to his homeland and bride, but after bringing his bride to him instead, they stay.  His cousin meanwhile seems set to settle down with Helen, who is of Irish descent and estranged from her family, and their awaited baby. Until that plan goes awry... The insight into the hostility and violence immigrants faced from many quarters at that time is described well, and gives an interesting mirror to the times we’re passing through once again. 
I liked all the characters a lot, as they were well drawn though not always sympathetic. The section about the war and the birth of Bangladesh was difficult reading, but gave important context. 
Overall an enjoyable read, with some important messages to note. I’ll look out for further books from this author. 
My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review
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I simply loved this book! The characters , the story line, the plot, all of it absolutely wonderful! Keeps you thinking even after you have finished the book and leaves you wanting for more! Highly recommended!
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A book of the life of an immigrant Hashim newly married leaves Pakistan to come to Manchester U.K. This book is a eye open read of the life of immigrants how they adjust how they live far from their country their family.A  book I was drawn into beautifully written engaging Involving a book I will be recommending highly.#netgalley#johnmurraypress.
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I really enjoyed this book which spans several decades and several generations of a family. Hashim moves to Manchester from East Pakistan. He is greeted by his cousin Rofikul. his plan is to only stay five years to send money back home to his family. But once he brings his wife over, life has other plans. 
Well-written, this story is both moving and warming. It tells the tale of immigration, adapting to new ways of life, dealing with racism, familial love and hopes and tensions. 
I enjoyed every second of it.
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I initially believed this to be an actual family story. Turns out it’s not but is obviously based on a mix of people with their real experiences  apparent. The story is told in really straightforward prose which is simple but a pleasure to read. What a tale. I am someone whose background could not have been more different from the characters in the book so I found their backstories fascinating and exotic yet strangely not so different to those of my own family members of the same generation. 
The story moves through the years detailing the lives of the characters. They are realistically described with flaws and weaknesses and the years move on seamlessly. 
I loved the book. Please read
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