Book Club: Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
November 5, 2010
Book club was pretty light on numbers this week. One member in hospital with unexplained stomach pain, another looking after her children, sickness for one and study for another, made for a small but talkative group.
First, I should say, I wouldn’t have chosen this book from the bookshelf and start reading it. I mostly read to escape to enjoyable places or fantasy worlds. Worlds I won’t encounter and am therefore not responsible for. I can leave them on the page and walk away.
I didn’t enjoy the world I found within the pages of Infidel, which is sad because it’s our world. But it did get me asking lots of questions.
How do we achieve multicultural communities when our base beliefs about the world differ so much?
Is her experience normative?
How does a Christian country welcome Muslim refugees on a long term basis?
What does freedom mean?
Is there a way of separating culture and religious beliefs?
I found myself feeling uncomfortable with the conclusions the author draws for herself, about race and religion, and the existence of God. This, in turn, left me unsure of the conclusions she draws in her political role. I still think her voice is one that is worth listening too. She exposes a way of thinking and existing that few people are brave enough to say out loud.
It won’t surprise anyone, that we didn’t manage to answer these questions in our one book club meeting! We will all, no doubt, keep thinking and talking about it into the future.
Have you read it?
My much more literary friend Stuart has written a review here.
Our next book is The girl with the dragon tattoo by Stieg Larsson.
I have decided to not read along with the group for this one. I am particularly sensitive to sexual violence and so have decided not to go there.
I am hoping to get one of the other book club girls to a guest post, once it’s been discussed. Any takers?