Award-winning Novel Explores Culture Clash Between Muslim Bengali Mother And Her Westernised Son

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An award-winning novel, which explores the British-Bengali experience from the perspectives of both first generation immigrants and the British-born generation, has just been published by independent Norfolk-based publisher, Rethink Press.

Broken Paths

Broken Paths

I was keen to write a novel that explored the psyche of both first generation Bangladeshi immigrants and their more anglicised children. In particular, the tensions that might be found in those relationships.

'Broken Paths', by Suhel Ahmed, has been four years finding a publisher since it won the Muslim Writers Awards(1) for Best Unpublished Novel in 2009. It was also awarded a grant by Arts Council, England(2).

Ahmed worked as a researcher, journalist and non-fiction editor while he wrote the powerful story of Amina, a Muslim mother who comes to Britain from Bangladesh to raise her young son in a new country while maintaining her cultural traditions; and Samir, raised in London, who rejects his mother’s traditional lifestyle and suffocating love.

Suhel Ahmed’s writing has received lavish praise from established authors: Aamer Hussein, author of 'Another Gulmohar Tree' and 'The Cloud Messenger', was “delighted by the switches in narration and tone. I found it constantly gripping.”

Jacob Ross ('Pynter Bender'), has called it “a courageous and accomplished first novel… a story of disenchantment, deceit, betrayal, unfulfilled desires and obsessive love.”

And 'The Road from Damascus' author, Robin Yassin-Kassab, applauded 'Broken Paths' as “a brilliant first novel… an exquisitely nuanced portrait of a mother-son dynamic. The clashing cultural and religious values that test this relationship are handled with great insight and in an entirely fresh way.”

'Broken Paths' is one of only a few novels, along with Monica Ali’s hugely successful 'Brick Lane', to explore the many tribulations experienced by the British-Bangladeshi milieu. The novel is about the limited life chances of a young Asian man raised on a North London council estate, and the effects of child abuse, alcohol and drugs on his work and relationships. His mother’s isolation in her adopted country and the manipulations of Muslim marriage-arrangers are played out in parallel, leading to a shocking and dramatic finale.

“I was keen to write a novel that explored the psyche of both first generation Bangladeshi immigrants and their more anglicised children,” said Suhel Ahmed. “In particular, the tensions that might be found in those relationships. I’ve made a concerted effort to make the mother figure a central character, thereby giving her a strong presence and getting across a voice that will hopefully resonate with first generation immigrants. Parts of the book are autobiographical, so it was also a way to come to terms with my childhood.”

Suhel Ahmed spent many of his early years growing up in the verdant countryside of Bangladesh. He has also written several short stories: 'Faith in Love' was published by Hurst in its journal 'The Critical Muslim' in 2012; his second novel, 'Disinherited', a dark tale about twin sisters living in an unnamed Bangladeshi village, whose lives are torn apart when one falls victim to an acid attack, is in progress.

'Broken Paths' is available on Amazon at £11.99 (paperback) and £2.31 (Kindle).

EDITOR NOTES
1. Muslim Writers Awards: http://muslimwritersawards.org.uk/ Suhel receives his prize: http://suhelahmed.com/awards/
2. Arts Council England: http://www.artscouncil.org.uk

Rethink Press Ltd, http://www.rethinkpress.com, is an independent publisher based in Norfolk, which started publishing unique fiction and niche titles in 2012. The Managing Editor is Lucy McCarraher, herself a published author of fiction and non-fiction books. Her first novel, Blood and Water, was published by Macmillan New Writing after being shortlisted in the Richard and Judy How To Get Published novel competition.

To receive a review copy of Broken Paths or to speak to Suhel Ahmed, please contact Lucy McCarraher on 07867 781691.

Learn more about Suhel Ahmed at http://www.suhelahmed.com.

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