Good Intentions by Kasim Ali

Book: Good Intentions

Author: Kasim Ali

Publisher: 4THESTATE

About the Author: Kasim Ali works in publishing and has previously been shortlisted for Hachette’s Mo Siewcharran Prize, longlisted for the 4th Estate BAME Short Story Prize and has contributed to The Good Journal. He lives in London.

My reading of Good Intentions

Nur and Yasmina are in love. They’ve dated each other for four long years and cannot imagine life otherwise. A typical romance, you’d say? No, because as we know, life always gets in the way. And sometimes social conditioning and prejudices are so deep-rooted that we grow despite them, allowing them to be the quiet carcinogens multiplying in a corner of our being.

Kasim Ali’s debut Good Intentions is ‘a messy love story’. A coming-of-age tale about a Pakistani Muslim and his Sudanese Muslim girlfriend who are deeply in love. But love, like all human emotions, is complex. It comes with the added baggage of family expectations and years of inbuilt inhibitions that are not-so-easy to shed away. Couple that with the ‘good intention’ of being the ‘best son’ and a ‘fairly best boyfriend’ and you have a perfect recipe for disaster.

Kasim Ali does a splendid job of putting together an honest story that is unafraid to talk about race, culture, sexuality, religion and love. He goes a step further in allowing his protagonist the leverage of being human, making errors and being nearly the ‘anti-hero’ of his story, which, in romance is a bold move.

The biggest merit of this love story is its well fleshed-out characters. Especially Nur, who unsettles the reader from the word go. His subtle nonchalance and faint-heartedness are not something for a protagonist to wear. But in walks Yasmina, a perfect foil to Nur. There’s a part of you that wants their love to fight it out and another that wonders why, if it’s even worth it!

The story is much more than mushy. It deals with the burning questions of our times, our educated, woke lives that become a façade when we come face-to-face with real situations. What are the boundaries of injustice? How much of it is acceptable? Does it depend on our position of privilege? Good Intentions doesn’t ask these questions but it allows you to peek into your conscience and know who you really are.

At close to three-fifty pages, you think you know the story well. It’s one from your neighbourhood (puts aside the geographical divide). But it takes its course, its twists and turns. The chronology can be confusing as we ferry between years and it takes some time to figure out what’s happening when. The pace is slow too, allowing you to soak in the setting of the story. But just like me, if you crave for emotional rollercoasters or romance and coming-of-age stories that offer an insight into your own life’s journey, this book is for you.

The purchase link for the book is given here

This review is part of Blogchatter’s Book Review Program

 ‘This blog post is part of the blog challenge ‘Blogaberry Dazzle’ hosted by Cindy D’Silva and Noor Anand Chawla.’

31 thoughts on “Good Intentions by Kasim Ali”

  1. Wow, that felt like reading the story. I wanted to read and review the book but couldn’t get the review copy. Thanks for the review, Sonia Ji.

  2. Lovely review. I am a fan of your writing Sonia… you give life to book reviews as well. your review is tempting but dunno if I will read the book… i have too many in the list of ‘want to read’ 😀

  3. I am a fan of mess. Be it a messy love story, or the beauty of mess. From your review, we can get a glimpse of this beautiful love story. Love how you said it Sonia.

  4. Love story which resemble to our life….just wow…I love to read stories which we can actually relate with us. Not a fantasy one. Your review is too good. I will read it.

  5. Sounds like an interesting read. Will check it out as it seems more than a mere love story

  6. Sounds like the book is worth a read. I had seen it at Blogchatter but had too much on my plate back then to pick a print book. Going by your recommendation, I am surely going to give it a read. Thanks for sharing a balanced review.

  7. I found tour Review very refreshing. You have brought out the highlights of the book and make us realize this is not just another love story. I am interested in getting hold of this book because of your intricate review.

  8. Lovely review. This sounds like a good book. It is great to see that authors are not avoiding difficult topics anymore.

  9. When I was reading tru the review I was like everyone talks about modernization but yet people can’t accept something that sort in their life, this book definitely reminds us that we have to learn to broaden our thoughts then we can accept changes that will happen in our life.

  10. A wonderful, honest, review of the book, Sonia that enables readers like me to know what we’re likely to get if we pick up this book. Thank you for it. Does the book provide an insight to the cultures in the two countries- Sudan and Pakistan?

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