Finding books with a decent representation of Muslim women without a biased lens is hard in the Western literature sphere. Thankfully, more and more Muslim authors this generation are writing beautiful novels with nuanced portrayals of what it means to be a Muslim woman, and the Muslim experience.
Whether you want a book to read during lunch, on the beach, or anywhere else to escape reality, here are five books you can read that are written by Muslim women authors.
Mornings in Jenin by Susan Abulawa
Genre: Historical fiction.
Trigger warning: war violence
Narrated from the viewpoint of a displaced Palestinian woman, this story highlights the brutal inhumanity that comes with being a Palestinian and the strength of Palestinian women. Combining plot points about family troubles, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, and displacement, Mornings in Jenin doesn’t sugarcoat the realities of being Palestinian and the struggles of identity, culture, and national pride.
The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
Trigger warning: violence
You’ve probably been recommended this book more than once, and here I am doing it again. That’s probably because The Complete Persepolis is one of the most original novels ever drawn and written. The coming of age book follows the true story of the author’s life in Iran pre-Islamic revolution, during it, and the aftermath. It’s a story that illuminates the courage, agency, and resilience of Iranian women.
The Pearl that Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi
Genre: Historical fiction
Trigger warning: domestic violence and abuse
Written from the perspective of Afghan women and girls, The Pearl That Broke Its Shell is a novel about women flipping gender roles and taking control of their narrative in a household and environment stacked against them. This novel flips back and forth from present day to past family connections to showcase how women have survived the hand they were dealt amidst violence from outside powers and within their own homes.
A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza
Genre: Adult Fiction
Trigger warnings: substance abuse, violence
This book highlights the raw, real, and relatable experiences as Muslim Americans, especially how we relate to and misunderstand our parents and their generation. Although the book may move slow for some people, the small pieces of the story include experiences that significantly contribute to how many Muslim Americans may feel displaced, torn between two cultures, and yearning for a place to belong.
We Have Always Been Here: A Queer Muslim Memoir by Samra Habib
Genre: Non-fiction, memoir
In this beautifully written memoir, Samra Habib articulates the struggles of what it means to be queer and Muslim and have your identity consistently not validated. Habib writes of her journey from her childhood in Pakistan to becoming a misplaced refugee in Canada. Through her experiences, Habib showcases the intersection of various forms of oppression faced in the East, West, and the internalized oppression many experience within their households regardless of where they reside.