In more recent times, a number of Bangladeshi women have emerged as writers and authors. They stand proud on the international stage, their works a manifestation of their intelligence, strength and courage.
While this list is by no means exhaustive, it can act as a starting point for your exploration of a niche treasure trove. One allows us to look into the mind of brilliant women. Without further ado, here are five books you should definitely check out:
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Author: Monica Ali
‘Through the eyes of two Bangladeshi sisters—the plain Nazneen and the prettier Hasina—we see the divergent paths of the contemporary descendants of an ancient culture. Hasina elopes to a "love marriage," and young Nazneen, in an arranged marriage, is pledged to a much older man living in London.’ – Goodreads
A poignantly weaved tale with well-developed characters; Ali’s debut novel was shortlisted for the acclaimed Booker Prize in 2004.
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Author: Ruby Zaman
Ruby Zaman employs masterful storytelling in her unapologetically straightforward depiction of Bangladesh’s Liberation War, often in the form of flashbacks from the protagonist’s perspective. The sheer honesty and emotion in her novel make it a must-read.
The story begins with a young, sheltered Zebunnessa Rahim whose life collapses when the war begins. Invisible Lines
conveys the personal tales of strong characters, and is ultimately the portrayal of a journey through the maze of war and human relationships.
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Author: Shazia Omar
"The hero of Dark Diamond
is Lord Shayista Khan, the Mughal Viceroy of Bengal, who in 1685, during Aurangzeb's rule, was the most powerful man on Earth. Under Lord Khan's governance, Bengal became the epicenter of commerce and culture - a veritable treasure chest with greedy enemies: Maratha warriors, Arakan rajas, Hindu zamindars, fanatic Mullahs, a diabolical Pir with occult powers and the East India Company. Not only does Lord Khan have to keep them at bay but also he must neutralize the curse of the Kalinoor, the dark diamond sister of the famous Kohinoor that now adorns the British Crown." – Goodreads
is a tale full of tragedy and adventure, a definite must-read for Historical fiction fans and a truly enjoyable read for anyone wanting to explore the genre. In the words of Shazia Omar herself, ‘I wanted to write a book that recollects Bengal at its finest and portrays a hero whom we can adore, one who fought for the freedom of thought and expression.’ And indeed, her work does justice to the intentions behind it.
is Ms Omar’s third book. She has co-authored Intentional Smile: A Girl’s Guide to Positive Living
alongside Merrill Khan and her debut novel was Like a Diamond in the Sky
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A Golden Age and The Good Muslim
Author: Tahmima Anam
A Golden Age
"As young widow Rehana Haque awakes one March morning, she might be forgiven for feeling happy. Today she will throw a party for her son and daughter. In the garden of the house she has built, her roses are blooming, her children are almost grown, and beyond their doorstep, the city is buzzing with excitement after recent elections. Change is in the air.
But none of the guests at Rehana's party can foresee what will happen in the days and months ahead. For this is 1971 in East Pakistan, a country on the brink of war. And this family's life is about to change forever." – Goodreads
Another stunning debut, A Golden Age
is a hopeful, impassioned tale. It was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award in 2007 and was awarded the Best First Book in the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize 2008.
The Good Muslim
"Set in Bangladesh at a time when religious fundamentalism is on the rise, The Good Muslim
is an epic story about faith, family, and the long shadow of war." - Goodreads
Her second novel was deeply moving and equally brilliant. Tahmima Anam was nominated for the Man Asian Literary Prize for her work.