Good Intentions - a review by Marc Forrest-Thomas

This incredible debut novel was released last month and thanks to the lovely folks at 4th Estate, I was able to read an early copy a few weeks back.I’ve been trying to organise my thoughts (of which I have many) since I finished it, the problem is, so much of what I’d like to say would contain spoilers. So here are my spoiler free thoughts…
Good Intentions
is, on the surface, a love story but really it is so much more. It follows Pakistani Nur through his relationship with his Sudanese girlfriend Yasmina. The story largely deals with the fact Nur has hidden the relationship from his Muslim parents (not a spoiler) but it deals with many other big issues including anxiety and mental health on a wider scale, also the effect that our actions can have, not only on ourselves but on those around us. I can’t think of many examples of such an honest male perspective on these subjects, at least not without an undertone of bravado. This story delicately deals with the nuances contained within the privacy of relationships. Nur is undoubtedly flawed and can be frustrating at times but he is so familiar and well written, a welcome change to male characters that have been written before.
Kasim Ali has such a fresh voice and I have no doubt that he will be long celebrated for this wonderfully poignant novel.
Also, Birmingham features heavily, which I always enjoy!! Hence the location of my photo.

Kasim is appearing at ChipLitFest as part of the debut novelists panel. New Voices 2022 12pm Sat 23 April Methodist Church

Our guest blogger Marc Forrest-Thomas joins us from Solihull:

I’m Marc, a simple boy with a wide ranging love of books. Seriously, I love books of all shapes and sizes (and genres).

I’ve been reading since I was a teenager and my love of literature has only grown as I’ve gotten older. Fiction is my go to, I gravitate towards beautiful and brutal stories but I’ll generally read anything that piques my interest. I’m largely contemporary in my tastes and love anything that feels fresh and different, I’m often looking for something new and always respect a new style, even if they aren’t always necessarily to my liking. I love the escapism that reading provides me, whatever is happening in the world around me, as long as I have a book with me I can disappear into another world and enjoy the company of the characters within.

Find Marc on Instagram @bookmarc_83