Showing all 4 results

  • Banana Girls, The

    The Banana Girls chronicles 2003 days in the lives of two bosom friends, Rehema and Fatuma, and millions of days in the existence of the banana, the fruit which, eaten either ripe or cooked, the girls at some point determine will be the only solid component of their daily diets. The banana becomes not only the symbol of ideal nutrition but also, by turns, of social engineering and neo-imperialist exploitation. …Rehema and Fatuma are Tanzanians by nationality and brainboxes by genetic coding, with an enduring monopoly of either the first or second position in any examination for which they sit. They excel in Mathematics, Chemistry and Physics particularly and are always the first two to solve any mathematical or scientific challenges that are presented to their successive year groups and, by extension, to readers of the book.

    … As the days go by, Rehema and Fatuma abandon junk food forever, they also adopt wholesome tastes in what they watch and what they listen to, and they make a good friend, Alice, who, unlike them, is from a rich family but who is adequately informed to join them as committed activists in the BLF, the Banana Liberation Front. Their activism lands them in jail. All three girls see through the machinations of their own government to oppress their own people and of global capitalism to bring about régime change, the better to sustain a stranglehold over poorer economies and to prop up aptly named ‘banana republics’. One malevolent operator is pointed out by name: he is President Ronald Grump of the United States of America.

  • Slave King: Rebels against empire: A Novel

    In thirty chapters, the narrative develops the incredible story of how a boy (Younis/Eunus/Euno) captured as a slave in Afamia, Syria challenges the Roman Empire in Sicily, circa 140-132 BCE. The chapters dramatize the circumstance of his capture, his experiences as a tutor, the growth of his prophetic and magical abilities, events that fomented the uprising (cruelties, rapes, crucifixions), the role of female characters, connections to other historical events (e.g., the destruction of Carthage), as well as scenes of an exorcism, an ancient marriage ceremony, a play performed outside a besieged city, and several battles against the Roman legions. An epilogue by an imagined contemporary narrator, who explains why she wrote the novel, ends the work. In the chapters and epilogue, while using ancient sources to some extent (sparse and biased as they are), the work departs from them to resolve contradictions, fill in gaps, and present an alternative narrative of historical and cultural issues. It’s intended to remedy the neglect of this story in both ancient and modern sources, reverse the demonization explicit and implicit in them, and remedy the imbalance in the dominant constructs. It promotes the event as significant, certainly just as important as (if not more than) the Spartacus rebellion seven decades afterwards, or others that are commonly recounted. A significant aspect of this revolt comes from the fact that Younis was able to forge a coalition of slaves, farmers and herders that defeated Roman armies and established an independent entity on more egalitarian principles. The novel also touches on a range of topics, such as prophecy, magic, languages, the construct of Western civilization, representation of regional cultures, customs, and mythologies. An idealized statue of this rebel stands today in Enna, Sicily, along with an inscription that seems designed to appeal to tourists, yet Younis’ rebellion contradicts the dominant notions promoted in Italy and throughout the West, especially the identification with imperial Rome. This novel is intended to remedy his legacy. A fictionalised account of a slave rebellion in Roman Sicilia more than sixty years before Spartacus, it tells the story of the slave Younis from Afamia (now in Syria), a mystic and seer who led a great uprising sustained much longer than Spartacus’.

  • Hand On The Sun: A passionate and powerful novel of race and class

    This was Tariq Mehmood’s first novel, published by Penguin Books in 1983, charting the experience of the second generation migrants to the UK. Set in the declining textile industry of the North of England, it is a raw story of pain and anger at the relentlessness of British racism, from the street to the state – a story of an unquenchable desire for justice, and reclaiming human dignity. A dignity that is wrapped around new questions of Identity, a crossroad between religion, language, history and resistance. It is a little big story, that talks to the extremities of social, political and literary issues today? Can stories of a generation be appropriated? How important is religion in identity? If all you have is a story to tell, who should you tell it? Are the issues of today, just the issues of today or can we learn something from the past? In these stories, friendship is not defined by religion or colour, but by humanity. And racism is much more than skin deep. It is an exhilarating read that bears witness to the urgent 80’s battles against state and popular racism. As important now as then. In this new edition, Mehmood provides a Foreword that describes how the novel came to be written and the lives of real people on whom the characters were created. In the Afterword, Mehmood revisits some of the characters who are now 40-years older, and reflects on how the book would have been written today where the conditions of mass mobilizations no longer exist in neoliberal Britain.

  • You’re Not Here

    One brother goes missing in action in Afghanistan, the other falls in love with an Afghan girl in England.

    Bitter divisions engulf an English town where young Muslims oppose the British army’s presence in Afghanistan, whilst white youth condemn the Muslims as traitors.

    To the disgust of his white friends, 17-year-old Jake Marlesden, whose brother is missing in action in Afghanistan, is in love with Leila Khan, an Afghan. When Jake tries to find out what happened to his brother, neighbour turns against neighbour and lover against lover.

    Leila joins young Muslims protesting against the returning bodies of dead British soldiers, and Jake stands with the families of the soldiers. The lovers fall apart.

    But far off events, and sinister forces at home, bring the lovers together again in a journey in which they will not only discover themselves, but also heal the wounds of their families and friends.

    This is the sequel to You’re Not Proper.