Friday, December 4, 2009

Two very different books this month. A very creative novel in Neil Gaiman's 'American Gods' and a highly moving and thought provoking autobiography in Ayaan Hirsi Ali's 'Infidel'.

'American God's' follows the story of Shadow whose wife dies days in a mysterious car crash before his 
release from prison. On his way home he meets the enigmatic Mr Wednesday, who claims to be a refugee from a distant war, a former god and the king of America.

Together they embark on a profoundly strange journey across the heart of the USA, whilst all around them a storm of prenatural and epic proportions threatens to break.

According to one reviewer this book is 'Dark, fun
 and nourishing to the soul'. 

See what you think!

 Ali was the Somali-born member of the Dutch parliament who faced death threats after collab
orating on a film about domestic violence against Muslim women with controversial director Theo van Gogh (who was himself assassinated). Even before then, her attacks on Islamic culture as "brutal, bigoted, [and] fixated on controlling women" had generated much controversy. In this suspenseful account of her life and her internal struggle with her Muslim faith, she discusses how these views were shaped by her experiences amid the political chaos of Somalia and other African nations, where she was subjected to genital mutilation and later forced into an unwanted marriage. While in transit to her husband in Canada, she decided to seek asylum in the Netherlands, where she marveled at the polite policemen and government bureaucrats. Ali is up-front about having lied about her background in order to obtain her citizenship, which led to further controversy in early 2006, when an immigration official sought to deport her and triggered the collapse of the Dutch coalition government. Apart from feelings of guilt over van Gogh's death, her voice is forceful and unbowed—like Irshad Manji, she delivers a powerful feminist critique of Islam informed by a genuine understanding of the religion.

Happy reading!