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Ahmede Hussain's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Ahmede Hussain recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Ahmede Hussain's favorite book recommendations of all time.


Seasonal Adjustments

Iqbal Chaudhary is 40ish. His Australian marriage has collapsed and he feels a compulsive need to go back to Bangladesh, the country he left 18 years earlier. The reception from his family is mixed, making him face the critical questions about his own cultural fragmentation and sense of belonging. less
Recommended by Ahmede Hussain, and 1 others.

Ahmede HussainThis was the first time that a book written by a Bangladeshi in English won the Commonwealth Writers Prize. It takes up an interesting theme – what if, when returning to your homeland, you find it changed and unfamiliar? The main character has spent almost 20 years in Australia, and when he returns to Bangladesh to visit his family he discovers that there are certain things in Bangladeshi society... (Source)

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English, August

An Indian Story

Recommended by Ahmede Hussain, and 1 others.

Ahmede HussainThis is one of the first books I read in English that was written by an Indian. What amazed me at the time was the sarcasm within it, which is very strong. The novel is about a young trainee civil servant called Agastya Sen who is posted to Madna, in India’s hinterland. Agastya had grown up in the cosmopolitan city of Delhi and he finds it very difficult to cope with his new environment. He lacks... (Source)

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The Glass Palace

Set in Burma during the British invasion of 1885, this masterly novel by Amitav Ghosh tells the story of Rajkumar, a poor boy lifted on the tides of political and social chaos, who goes on to create an empire in the Burmese teak forest. When soldiers force the royal family out of the Glass Palace and into exile, Rajkumar befriends Dolly, a young woman in the court of the Burmese Queen, whose love will shape his life. He cannot forget her, and years later, as a rich man, he goes in search of her. The struggles that have made Burma, India, and Malaya the places they are today are illuminated in... more
Recommended by Ahmede Hussain, and 1 others.

Ahmede HussainWhat I really liked about this novel is the way it describes an individual’s place in history. It’s not so much that Ghosh makes a judgement on whether we are agents or victims of history, but he explores the different ways in which individuals react to particular incidents, and how some manage to overcome adversity. The Glass Palace follows the life of the last Burmese king and his family. It... (Source)

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South Asia first found its English voice - in literature and in song - in the nineteenth century. It changed and morphed over two hundred years so that it now boasts of as many registers as there are languages and dialects within its geographical frontiers. From Mohsin Hamid, Kamila Shamsie and Raj Kamal Jha to Amit Choudhuri, Altaf Tyrewala, Padma Viswanathan and Tabish Khair, this book anthologises twenty-two major writers of fiction who, with their original narrative styles, have reinterpreted the region's turbulent history at both personal and national levels. The New Anthem confirms that... more
Recommended by Ahmede Hussain, and 1 others.

Ahmede HussainThese stories are written by 22 authors of South Asian origin. The New Anthem is an attempt to reinterpret the turbulent history of the region at both an individual and a national level. I selected the works of contemporary authors, most of whom are under the age of 40, who have changed the landscape of South Asian writing. There were many to choose from. We are coming out of the closet, so to... (Source)

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The Reluctant Fundamentalist

At a cafe table in Lahore, a bearded Pakistani man converses with an uneasy American stranger. As dusk deepens to night, he begins the tale that has brought them to this fateful encounter...

Changez is living an immigrant's dream of America. At the top of his class at Princeton, he is snapped up by an elite valuation firm. He thrives on the energy of New York, and his budding romance with elegant, beautiful Erica promises entry into Manhattan society at the same exalted level once occupied by his own family back in Lahore.

But in the wake of September 11, Changez finds...

Daniyal MueenuddinWell, it’s an odd kind of book. I think what’s especially useful about it is the way in which it describes the transformation in this man’s thinking. The protagonist is somebody who had been living in New York and been a banker and he gradually turns into, as the title says, a reluctant fundamentalist. This is something that I have seen among my friends in Pakistan. People who I have always... (Source)

Ahmede HussainThis is an amazing book, and it’s a shame that it didn’t win the Man Booker Prize [in 2007] – in my opinion it was the best of the bunch. I think it’s going to become a modern classic in five or 10 years’ time, if it’s not already regarded as one. This novel speaks for so many peoples’ experiences in the aftermath of 9/11. The prose is very tight and the title is also very clever. (Source)

Amy WaldmanYou’re right – the protagonist has a completely different profile from the humble one in Harbor. Changez is from a prestigious Pakistani family, but one without a lot of money. He comes to the United States to attend Princeton on a scholarship and then is recruited into the corporate world. The whole novel is a monologue. This character, in a café in Lahore, is talking to an unidentified... (Source)

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