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Salma El-Wardany Books In Order

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These Impossible Things (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

Salma El-Wardany is the author of These Impossible Things, published in 2022. She was born in a remote village in Egypt to an Irish mother and a Pakistani father. Salma’s family would later relocate to North East England. She attended university in England, and two degrees later, Salma moved back to her birth country. Unfortunately, a revolution that happened a couple of years later forced her to move back to England, where she found herself working in the corporate world in the marketing departments before finally starting her own marketing business. Salma El-Wardany is not just a writer, poet, speaker, and BBC radio presenter; she’s a global sensation. She has delivered two insightful TEDx Talks, sharing her wisdom with the world.

These Impossible Things by Salma El-Wardany introduces us to the lives of three inseparable friends, Malak, Kees, and Jenna. They are explored as they navigate the complexities of love, sex, faith, and a pivotal night that alters their paths forever.

Malak, Kees, and Jenna met in an Islamic school as children. The trio have formed an unbreakable bond over the years. Each has a distinct personality and life goals. They have always been a cohesive trio, consulting each other in every significant decision, be it minor or life-changing. Their friendship is so strong that they even choose to attend the same university, maintaining their close-knit circle despite new romantic relationships. Boyfriends become mere additions to their group, often tagging along in their adventures.

However, their bond faces an unexpected test when a heated argument erupts. Surprisingly, it’s not the typically impulsive and outspoken Jenna at the center but Malak and Kees. The words exchanged are harsh and damaging, striking at a time when their lives are on the cusp of major change. Kees, who has been secretly dating Harry, a white Catholic, is gearing up for a career as a lawyer in a firm dedicated to helping the underprivileged. Malak, on the other hand, faces a heart-wrenching decision to break up with her white boyfriend, Jacob, driven by her desire to find a partner from her community.

The fallout from this fight is intense. Malak, dealing with the dual loss of her relationship with Kees and her love for Jacob, decides to move to Cairo for a new beginning. Jenna, caught in the middle of Malak and Kees’s fallout, experiences a loneliness she’s never known before. Though she engages in casual relationships, her heart yearns for a deeper connection, preferably with a Muslim man. He seems like an ideal match when she meets Mo, but something vital is missing — the elusive spark of true connection.
This novel delves into the intricate dynamics of friendship, the challenges of intercultural relationships, and the struggle to stay true to one’s faith and desires in a complex world. It’s a story about growing up and apart and the painful yet necessary journey of finding one’s own way.

This story celebrates the essence of youth and female friendship, delving into the complexities and joys of love.

The narrative shifts between the perspectives of the three friends, highlighting how their lives diverge in the face of adulthood’s realities. Having agreed to marry Harry, Kees faces the daunting task of revealing his existence to her parents. She is painfully aware of the potential rejection from her family, who may not accept their interracial love. The story portrays Kees’ inner turmoil with sensitivity, balancing the quick judgments of other characters like Harry’s mother and a colleague against a more empathetic understanding of her parent’s perspective.

Kees’ struggle intensifies as the strain of potentially losing her parents’ approval puts her relationship with Harry at risk, forcing her to confront the depth of her sadness. Meanwhile, Jenna’s path takes a harrowing turn after a traumatic incident. She attempts to reinvent herself, believing this new identity will shield her from further pain. In her quest for safety, Jenna pursues a relationship with Mo, deliberately overlooking the warning signs of his imposing conservative values on her.

Malak’s journey takes her to Cairo, where she finds herself in a toxic relationship with a Muslim man. He hypocritically insists on tradition only when it concerns others. Isolated from her family and without the watchful eyes of Kees and Jenna, Malak, like Jenna, turns a blind eye to the glaring red flags in her relationship.

The novel beautifully captures the intricate dance of maintaining one’s identity while navigating love, cultural expectations, and the bonds of friendship. It’s a poignant exploration of how these three women, tied together by years of friendship, must tread their unique paths while holding onto the connection that has always anchored them. These Impossible Things is a tribute to the enduring power of female friendship, resilience in the face of life’s challenges, and the courage to pursue one’s path.

El-Wardany deftly navigates a complex web of themes—love (romantic and platonic), sex, faith, and the challenges of adulthood. The novel delves into the struggles of the three friends as they strive to reconcile their Muslim and British identities, balancing self-fulfillment with familial expectations and grappling with societal and cultural pressures.

While the narrative ambitiously weaves in intersectional and feminist perspectives, certain scenes and discussions come across as subtly moralistic. El-Wardany explores various life paths available to young women: from studying away from home and experiencing life as part of a majority culture in Egypt to dealing with white friends and in-laws, re-engaging with their cultural roots, and facing workplace micro-aggressions in their first jobs.

The portrayal of the three white male characters—a boyfriend, an ex, and a best friend—is noteworthy. They are depicted as three-dimensional figures, supportive and understanding, a refreshing contrast to the often-one-dimensional representation in other narratives. One of them, in particular, skillfully navigates the complexities of interacting with his girlfriend’s estranged family, blending politeness with a respectful use of Arabic phrases sending a hopeful message of cross-cultural understanding.

Ultimately, These Impossible Things is a powerful ode to male and female friendship. It illustrates how friends might overlook red flags in relationships yet quickly provide support when needed. The transition from passive observation to active support is portrayed with finesse in this compelling novel, making it a profound testament to friendship’s enduring strength and complexity..

Book Series In Order » Authors » Salma El-Wardany

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