The Bad Muslim Discount: Book summary and reviews of The Bad Muslim Discount by Syed M. Masood

The Bad Muslim Discount

by Syed M. Masood

The Bad Muslim Discount by Syed M. Masood X
The Bad Muslim Discount by Syed M. Masood
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Book Summary

Following two families from Pakistan and Iraq in the 1990s to San Francisco in 2016, The Bad Muslim Discount is an inclusive, comic novel about Muslim immigrants finding their way in modern America.

It is 1995, and Anvar Faris is a restless, rebellious, and sharp-tongued boy doing his best to grow up in Karachi, Pakistan. As fundamentalism takes root within the social order and the zealots next door attempt to make Islam great again, his family decides, not quite unanimously, to start life over in California. Ironically, Anvar's deeply devout mother and his model-Muslim brother adjust easily to life in America, while his fun-loving father can't find anyone he relates to. For his part, Anvar fully commits to being a bad Muslim.

At the same time, thousands of miles away, Safwa, a young girl living in war-torn Baghdad with her grief-stricken, conservative father will find a very different and far more dangerous path to America. When Anvar and Safwa's worlds collide as two remarkable, strong-willed adults, their contradictory, intertwined fates will rock their community, and families, to their core.

The Bad Muslim Discount is an irreverent, poignant, and often hysterically funny debut novel by an amazing new voice. With deep insight, warmth, and an irreverent sense of humor, Syed M. Masood examines universal questions of identity, faith (or lack thereof), and belonging through the lens of Muslim Americans.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Masood adeptly balances humor with pathos in this unforgettable, twisting tale...A moving, comic take on the immigrant experience." - Booklist (starred review)

"With the narrative's dose of comedy as well as tragedy, Masood's characters become flesh and blood, not easily forgotten. A born storyteller, Masood has crafted a fast-paced page-turner with plenty of insightful commentary on religion, family, love, and national politics in this debut novel that is expertly written and a joy to read; highly recommended." - Library Journal (starred review)

"The story is well written, but the fascinating familial and religious dynamics are often too convoluted, and the relationship between Anvar and Azza never takes off because Azza is not as fully developed a character as Anvar...An engaging though overly complicated story of two people fighting to overcome their circumstances." - Kirkus Reviews

"In this ambitious if flawed novel, Masood charts the unraveling lives of two Muslim immigrants...Masood's characters never fully come to life. Still, the immersive story offers a rich meditation on religion and personal identity." - Publishers Weekly

"Perfect...I was torn between wanting to take my time to savor it, or just blazing through. This is a book that I didn't know I deeply needed." - Buzzfeed

"Take it from a bad Jew, this is one of the bravest and most eye-opening novels of the year. Masood is a whiz at characters and knows the way the world works inside out. A future classic." - Gary Shteyngart, New York Times bestselling author of Lake Success

"Syed M. Masood brings something new and necessary to the immigrant story: a sense of humor. Surprising, provocative, and damn funny, The Bad Muslim Discount is the story we always needed but never had." - Neel Patel, author of If You See Me, Don't Say Hi: Stories

This information about The Bad Muslim Discount was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

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Lani

Irreverent with serious overtones
Funny, irreverent, and profound. How do you get all these attributes enveloped in one novel? Well, you need Masood's copious skills. He managed to create a story with religious, political, love and romantic tones. Yet all these are in the context of the main characters voice, a child who at the age of 10 emigrated from Karachi, Pakistan to California. Anvar is a bright resourceful cheeky son while his older brother is straight laced and a rule follower. However, it is not without irony that the tables turn by the end of the novel. Azza is another character who has fled with her father, a man who turned abusive after being imprisoned by Americans, and another man who has agreed to bring them to the United States a long as she marries him and gives in to his sexual advances despite her Muslim mores. The remaining characters have robust natures whose dialogue is humorous and compelling. Full of satire, the narratives hammer into one another. Despite my enjoyment, I would have liked to see more editing but still I feel this book will make people laugh out loud while contemplating some serious issues.

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Author Information

Syed M. Masood

Syed M. Masood grew up in Karachi, Pakistan. A first-generation immigrant twice over, he has been a citizen of three different countries and nine different cities. He currently lives in Sacramento, California, where he is a practicing attorney.

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