Saturday 23 July 2022

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Review: The Movement by Ayisha Malik (#Ad)

The Movement by Ayisha Malik on a tablet, which is on a diagonal from top right to bottom left. The tablet is on a pale grey fluffy duvet.

I was received this eProof for free from Headline via NetGalley for the purposes of providing an honest review.

Links with an asterisk (*) are Ad: Affiliate Links, which means if you make a purchase through them, I'll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

The Movement by Ayisha Malik

Published: 21st July 2022 | Publisher: Headline | Source: NetGalley
Ayisha Malik’s on Twitter

With words come power. But do you speak out or shut up?

Every time Sara Javed switches on her laptop, checks her phone or goes outside, people are shouting. Everyone seems to be angry about something and she just wishes that they would all shut up. Until she realises that perhaps she should take her own advice.

At first people don't understand her silence and are politely confused at best. But the last thing Sara could anticipate is becoming the figurehead of a global movement that splits society in two.

The Silent Movement sparks outrage in its opposers. Global structures start to shift. And the lives of those closest to Sara - as well as strangers inspired by her act - begin to unravel.

It's time for the world to reconsider what it means to have a voice.

A sharply observed novel, charged with compassion and dark wit, that will spark important conversations about how we live, relate and communicate now.
From The Goodreads.

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The StoryGraph | Goodreads

The Movement by Ayisha Malik is absolutely bloody brilliant! It's an extremely powerful and thought-provoking story. It asks the questions, Who is heard? Who is silenced? Who has a voice? Who is spoken over? If you're not going to be heard, why talk?

While the story is about three specific women and how this movement of silence effects their lives, it was absolutely fascinating to see who chose to be silent, why they chose to be silent, and those who were against them. I loved how Malik used non-verbalism as a stand in for various social issues or forms of activism. How she uses it to exaggerate attitudes on both sides, a mirror reflecting valid opinions and beliefs, but also the level of absurdity some will go to. But also the seriousness of protest. Are we allowed to live in a world without uttering a single word ever again? What would that world look like? How would that effect everything? What would the government's stance be? It's epic in scale, looking at protest, beneficial ways to protest, and our rights.

But I also loved how Malik used non-verbalism not as a form of protest to highlight wanting to be heard, but of wanting *not* to speak. Sara also chooses silence because she is a woman of colour who, as an author, has a platform, and is expected to use that platform. Sara has experienced being reduced to being a woman of colour for diversity reasons, and as such, is often expected to give her opinion on related topics, to be a spokesperson. She has a platform, and so she should use it for those who don't. But what if, actually, she doesn't want to? Doesn't want to be that person? What if she just wants to write her books?

Malik has a fantastic way of injecting humour into her stories. She writes awful characters in such a way that we are angered by them, but Malik uses humour to show how ridiculous they are, inviting us to laugh at them along with her. There's very much a sense of the saying, "If you don't laugh, you might cry." So why not laugh? I really enjoyed one of the ways Malik did this, with asides in brackets from an almost omnipresent narrator, commenting briefly on what just came before.

Malik has always wrote in some way about the clash between culture and the modern world in all of her books. There is love and respect, as we fall in love with her protagonists' family members in all her books, but there's also an acknowledgement that some attitudes - especially around women - aren't ok. Usually, they're dealt with, with Malik's usual wit, as they're almost small, old fashioned attitudes. With The Movement, she tackles cultural attitudes around women and rape, and a hierarchy of wrong doing. What I read in The Movement broke my heart, and I cried. It's not my place to comment on cultural attitudes, but with The Movement, Malik does, and this time, without humour. She interrogates those cultural attitudes, and makes it very clear what she thinks. It's powerful and important - and probably in a way that I, outside of the culture, don't fully comprehend.

The Movement is absolutely incredible, and without a doubt, Malik's best book yet.

Thank you to Headline via NetGalley for the eProof.

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