Good Intentions

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Pub Date 3 Mar 2022 | Archive Date Not set
4th Estate, Fourth Estate


‘Absorbing, compelling and beautifully written’ Beth O’Leary, author of The Flatshare

‘Moving, modern and utterly engaging. What a talent’ Rhik Samadder, author of I Never Said I Love You

‘Sensitive, smooth-toned and absorbingly honest’ Diana Evans, author of Ordinary People

‘Moving, modern and utterly engaging. What a talent’ Rhik Samadder, author of I Never Said I Love You

A heart-wrenching and beautifully told debut novel about love, family obligation and finding your way.

Nur and Yasmina are in love
They’ve been together for four happy years
But Nur’s parents don’t know that Yasmina exists

As Nur’s family counts down to midnight on New Year’s Eve, Nur is watching the clock more closely than most: he has made a pact with himself, and with his girlfriend, Yasmina, that at midnight he will finally tell his Pakistani parents the truth. That he has spent years hiding his personal life from them to preserve his image as the golden child. That he has built a life with a woman he loves and she is Black.

Nur wants to be the good son his parents ask him to be, and the good boyfriend Yasmina needs him to be. But as everything he holds dear is challenged, he is forced to ask, is love really a choice for a second-generation immigrant son like him?

Deftly exploring family obligation and racial prejudice alongside the flush of first love, Good Intentions is a captivating and powerful modern love story that announces a thrilling new voice in British fiction.

'A magnificent and messy love story that broke my heart … for anyone who has ever known what it is to be conflicted in falling in love’ Huma Qureshi, author of How We Met

‘Compelling, emotionally honest, and unafraid of the grey areas of race, faith, sexuality and love, Good Intentions shows how complicated relationships can be, even with the best of intentions’ Lillian Li, author of Number One Chinese Restaurant

‘A stellar, authentic and emotionally engrossing read. Addictive in every sense' Irenosen Okojie, author of Nudibranch

‘Absorbing, compelling and beautifully written’ Beth O’Leary, author of The Flatshare

‘Moving, modern and utterly engaging. What a talent’ Rhik Samadder, author of I Never Said I Love You


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ISBN 9780008450762
PRICE £0.99 (GBP)

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Featured Reviews

Nur, from a Pakistani home, is torn between his family and the girl he loves, Yasmina, who is Muslim like him but black Sudanese. He loves Yasmina and moves in with her but four years later, his parents still do not know about her. Is it his family or his own feelings in conflict? This is a heartbreaking story which is told in anecdotes from the past which illuminate their relationships. I found it interesting to contrast white British families; who turn their children out of the nest into universities at the age of 18, and who are left to find their own partners; Nur's strong family ties and customs bind them together. Is it stifling or supportive? I was shocked at one point when Saara chucks a white boy out of her party!! Racism works both ways.

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Good Intentions follows Nur as he counts down to telling his parents/family about his partner (Yasmina) after four years of being together, familial obligations, religion and race are beautifully and honestly discussed in this novel and you cannot help but want to speed your way through the book to find out what happens and how Nur got himself into that position.

The novel is told in a mixed timeline, the reader is dropped in at different points throughout the four years from Nur and Yasmina first meeting to shortly after he has told his family. This narrative style was brilliant for giving teaser amounts of information and building the story but could be a little bit confusing at times (especially if you were to read it more slowly).

An wonderful debut and Kasim Ali is definitely one to watch.

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This was such an emotive brilliant read. The storyline was heartbreaking, but also very raw and relatable as I am sure this is a story that many couples have faced and lived through.
I lived the writing, I love the storyline and I lived the characters.
I couldnt put it down and read it quickly, I really enjoyed it.

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While this book flits back and forwards in time, laying the groundwork for the story, this book is loosely about acceptance.

The need for Nur to have his parents accept his relationship of 4 years with Yasmina, the girl he never told them about.

We learn how the relationship between Nur and Yasmina developed. How they found themselves in each other. Their hopes for a future tigether6.

There is one main sticking point in their relationship. They have been together for 4 years, living together for 2 years. Nur has still to tell his parents about Yasmina.

Nur always says his parents wouldn't accept their relationship as Yasmina is not like them, while she is a Muslim, she is a black Muslim from Sudan.

Eventually, it happens. Nur, Yasmina and her family make the journey to Nur's family home to meet his parents and siblings. While there, Yasmina comes to a realisation, the problem was never with Nur's parents being unable to accept her. The problem lay with Nur.

Emotions are high throughout this book, and it culminates in a bittersweet ending. Definitely a book you should read.

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Loved the story, the writing and how it touched some topics like anxiety, racism, religion. The story is written in different timelines so it shows how some actions were made and why, of course.

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Kasim Ali is described as a 'thrilling new voice' and, unusually, this is not hype. He writes with so much skill that I found myself highlighting many passages. This the age-old story of the second generation immigrant child straddling two cultures, but set in contemporary England.

This gives the novel a fresh perspective with characters who aren't stereotypes and are whole people. It's also unflinchingly real in the depiction of South Asian anti-black prejudice which is all too prevalent amongst the older generations of our community. He also doesn't shy away from the visceral anger of a young woman, Saara, who berates a young white man who attends her party. It isn't an example of racial prejudice or racism, but that of someone who's simply had enough and it's a very common emotion amongst people of that age who become activists as they brush up against institutional racism and sexism as they become adults.

Literature is supposed to inform and help us understand and this book really accomplishes this with it's honesty. By framing these issues within a love story, Ali deftly and honestly demonstrates how harmful these views can be within our everyday human interactions.

As a woman of colour, now in my 50s, this is the type of book I have longed to read. It's hard to convey how important it is to see us portrayed as we are rather than tired, one-dimensional stereotypes. To see us love rather than struggle for cultural identity. Ali is an extremely talented writer and I will read anything else that he writes. Bravo to 4th Estate books for signing such a talent. Highly recommend.

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Loving this book which is a very authentic depiction of immigrant families in Britain. It explores themes of racial prejudice and complex family dynamics. I’m enjoying the writing style. The author writes with wry humour and wit.

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I don't know what to write, I am blown away by this book. It has totally given me a new perspective.
A very powerful book.
Can't say anything more without giving the premise away.

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This was so lovely, charming, sweet and sad. It feels like the book I've been waiting for. You so rarely hear stories about racism between racialised communities, and anti-black racism in particular, and especially how it affects the interpersonal relationships of young people growing up in the shadow of those prejudices. It was a gorgeous, affecting love story, with poignant themes of mental health and rarely spoken about prejudices.

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