the things i would tell you review

The Things I Would Tell You: British Muslim Women Write is an anthology of poetry, short stories and plays about Muslim women all over the world. This is also my first read for the Ramadan Readathon!

From established literary heavyweights to emerging spoken word artists, the writers in this ground-breaking collection blow away the narrow image of the ‘Muslim Woman’.

Hear from users of Islamic Tinder, a disenchanted Maulana working as a TV chat show host and a plastic surgeon blackmailed by MI6. Follow the career of an actress with Middle-Eastern heritage whose dreams of playing a ghostbuster spiral into repeat castings as a jihadi bride. Among stories of honour killings and ill-fated love in besieged locations, we also find heart-warming connections and powerful challenges to the status quo.

From Algiers to Brighton, these stories transcend time and place revealing just how varied the search for belonging can be.

A note: I am not Muslim myself, but as there is such an incredible variety of stories (all of which are own voices, as far as I am aware), and I believe that this is has a multiplicity of representations of Muslim women. If a Muslim blogger does happen to review this book, I will add their link to this review. Also, trigger warnings for misogyny, abuse, and Islamaphobic language and actions. 

As with every anthology, there were some stories and poems that I liked more than others. One of the most interesting stories in this anthology is a radio play adaptation of Camus’ The Outsider. Re-named The Insider, it tells the story of the unnamed ‘Moorish girlfriend’. She is finally given a name and a story outside of the men she sleeps with. I also thought all of the non-fiction pieces in the anthology were brilliant. I’m surprised that some of them weren’t included in The Good Immigrant, actually.

The title poem by Hibaq Osman is also absolutely incredible. It includes some truly fantastic lines, such as:

Screenshot 2017-04-26 21.59.27

I do slightly wish that the anthology had been organized in some way. In themes, or genre of the writing, or something like that. I think that would have made it a little bit more organized. However, that is just a personal preference.

Overall, I think this was a very needed anthology. I did not necessarily connect to it in a way that Muslim readers will, but it wasn’t written for me. And that is fantastic! I would definitely recommend this, if only for the list of contributors. I am definitely going to check out more of their writing.


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