Days of Our Wives, much like its author, presents as something of an enigma. The title appears to be a play on the words Days of Our Lives, which is a long-running American daytime soap (consult Google should you not have a clue what it is I am talking about). And one would be forgiven for assuming that it implies a plot thick in polygamy. However, the storyline which is riddled with twists offers its first in the form of its title. Wives are certainly involved but not of the polygamous variety.
Centred around Shilpa who is the heroine of the piece, Days of Our Wives takes us on what the blurb accurately shares as ‘a rollercoaster of emotions’. It contains a pinch of everything! You want some love and romance – tick; some suspense and drama – tick; some humour – tick; bad boys and betrayal – tick; the unexpected – tick. I could go on but I’m not sure it would adequately convey the ride that is in store for any reader.
Author Salam Jones, master carpenter by day and spoken word artist by night, likes to shatter all illusions. He doesn’t seem to want to be neatly labelled and boxed away and so he writes in a way that pulls no punches and blows the lids off subjects that have been taboo for far too long. The story is told through the eyes of its characters, each chapter expressed through the perspective of a different individual. It uses language that may not suit all tastes but is in keeping with its characters and situations. The words are not gratuitous in that they do not seem to overstep the bounds of propriety. They enable us to enter another world whilst leaving enough to the imagination. The world that it welcomes us into is that of Bangladeshi Muslims, some born and brought up in the UK and others ‘fresh off the boat’.
Jones seems to intend no malice in his choice of words. The impression I have come away with is that he wishes to introduce the reader to differing viewpoints and to highlight that things are never quite what they may seem. The language, to me, befits the subject matter: You won’t get no East End Bangla speaking proper. Being of Bangladeshi origin, I believe, enables me get the nuances. However I do not think you have to be Bengali to be a reader of this book. It is an enjoyable read that has you page turning and involved with the characters from the off.
Beau Selector (www.beauselector.co.uk) are the publishers of Days of Our Wives. They are primarily a matchmaking service or rather a ‘Personalised Matrimonial Introduction Service for Muslims’ moonlighting as publishers. You can see again the hand of Jones (and perhaps his fellow word artists who run the show) involved in the name: “Beau” in English meaning “suitor” and its pronunciation- Bo -being Bengali for “wife”. These guys have big hearts as well as being expert word players: 25% of the profit from the sales of Days of Our Wives goes to the charity Restless Beings (www.restlessbeings.org). So buying the book not only expands your mind bi’idhnillah (should you not leave it on your bookshelf!) it also enables you to do a good deed.
Khalida Haque, a qualified and experienced counseling psychotherapist, is a regular contributor to SISTERS. Her ideal occupation would be ‘professional reader’ as she loves to read and will read anything that has words on it, but a good book will find her lost amongst its pages.