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THE OTHER HALF OF YOU

Michael Mohammed Ahmad’s latest novel continues the story of Bani Adam, a young Lebanese Muslim man growing up in Sydney. Bani, the protagonist of Ahmad’s 2018 novel The Lebs, now has a university degree behind him, as well as a relationship with a woman that he was forced to abandon due to family pressure. He struggles to find a place where he fits in—too educated and left-wing to be comfortable around his religiously conservative family, too Muslim to be comfortable in xenophobic white Australian society. Written as a stream-of-consciousness letter to his son, The Other Half of You recounts Bani’s journey as he leaves behind a girl he loves and marries one he doesn’t at his family’s behest, trying to live a life he never wanted without cracking under the pressure of familial and social expectations. Bani is an erudite, nihilistic observer. He trains a hard gaze at people’s hypocrisies and selfishness, including his own. He is as scathing and despairing of gender roles in his family as he is of the racism of white Australians.

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