Book review: The Family Tree by Sairish Hussain

Photo of The Family Tree. Pale blue background with white lettering, border of birds and plants. Endorsements in purple with writers' names in black.

The Family Tree by Sairish Hussain is a novel about a Muslim family in Northern England. I borrowed it from the library. The writing is very good as is to be expected from Sairish Hussain’s educational background. There are little details which transport the reader into the scene.

Looking at recent history from the point of view of ordinary Muslims gives a different perspective from news programmes and white people’s views. Towards the end, I decided reluctantly to put the book down and go to bed. The following morning I finished reading it before I did any writing for my NaNoWriMo project, because the story was gripping. The main theme of the book is the relationships of the family members and their close friends. The story covers about 24 years in the life of the characters and includes tragedy and reconciliation. The religious practices and beliefs of Muslims are not explained, but are a backdrop to the story.

The Family Tree was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award 2020. It is available as a paperback, ebook and audiobook.

One of the endorsements on the cover was from Stephanie Butland, two of whose books I have read and reviewed: Lost for Words and The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae. I didn’t notice this endorsement in the library.

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