It is New Year’s Eve, 1960. Hashim has left behind his homeland and his bride, Munira, to seek his fortune in England. His cousin and only friend, Rofikul, introduces Hashim to life in Manchester – including Rofikul’s girlfriend, Helen. When Munira arrives, the group must learn what it is to be a family.
Over the next twenty years, they make their way in the new country – putting down roots and building a home. But when war breaks out in East Pakistan, the struggle for liberation and the emergence of Bangladesh raises questions about identity, belonging and loyalty.
I received a copy of this book from John Murray Press via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
‘Hashim & Family’ is an educational and emotional journey back in time to Britain and Pakistan during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. It explores the reasons for migration. What is left behind? The concept of family and home. The story captures the brutality and hope of a migrants’ life. The tenacious spirit of Hashim and his family portrayed through authentic and believable characters. The characters are flawed and vulnerable, but mostly easy to empathise.
The political and social history aspect of the story is fascinating. The imagery is often graphically detailed to emphasise the horror and terror of racial and religious war. In contrast, the ordinary family bonds which Hashim’s family share is heartwarming and uplifting. Life is challenging and often cruel, but Hashim sees only the positives.
This story is insightful and memorable.