Take a Magical Journey into Madness

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Within these pages, Imran Khan has created such a fascinating world with believable and relatable characters that kept me turning the pages and wanting more.

About the Book

The perfect read for Neil Gaiman fans.

Meet Malek Khalil, a brilliant reporter with decades of experience in the field, and a man on the edge. Where there is war, natural disaster or political crisis, Malek is in the midst of it, but years of conflict reporting have taken their toll and he is slowly unravelling.

His colleagues, Neeka and Justin, have noticed a change in him, beyond even his usual vivid imagination. Neeka is especially sensitive, having been his friend and producer for many years, and perhaps knowing him better than he knows himself. Justin, a skilled and brave cameraman, has worked with them for just as long and the three make a formidable team – but they are only as strong as each other – and Malek is fast going down the rabbit hole.

Born a Muslim but an atheist to his core, Malek’s voyage takes him around the world and back in time to ancient Babylon, as he finds himself arguing with a God in whom he does not believe. A keen reader, his ‘madness’ is heightened by a strange book that keeps appearing on his Kindle, telling the stories of people he has briefly encountered during his career.

In Truth, Madness takes place in the Middle East, South Asia, and London against a backdrop of war, religion, political skullduggery, and emerging love, taking the reader on a tumultuous journey through the most dangerous arenas of modern culture and the ancient world.

Is Malek losing his mind, or is he experiencing an astonishing kind of truth?

My Thoughts

This fascinating tale takes us around the Middle and Far East on a magical fantastical journey. We join our main character Malek as he seemingly descends into madness, led by a mysterious character who only communicates with him via his Kindle. This imaginative storyline gripped me and kept me engaged through all 364 pages of this epic tale.

Additionally, I learned a great deal about the geopolitical period that many Americans like myself probably don’t know about. As a fellow journalist, I probably know more than most. But I had left my journalism job by the time this book was set, so even I didn’t know some of these things. I’m sure the author took some liberties, but I assume much of the information is accurate.

I always enjoy being immersed in cultures I’m less familiar with, and growing up in small-town Louisiana, that’s unfortunately many of them. I didn’t knowingly meet a Muslim person until I was in high school. He was a substitute teacher, and it was a big deal. So I enjoy learning more about other cultures, and reading is a great way to do this. I appreciate this author’s candid writing style, showing the humanity and vulnerability of people in various situations. The more people can see that all people are people, the more we can stop fighting and get along.

This book was steeped in socio-political commentary and religious discussion. Malek spends a great deal of time soul-searching, and in the end, things are left a little uncertain. I appreciate the reality of this as well. The shades of grey, instead of the black and white thinking that so many people turn to when thinking of religion.

I enjoyed the fantasy elements in the world that were so clearly otherwise ours. It adds an element of creepiness and wonder. Always makes you wonder what you don’t know about the world. Could the magic be there, and you’re just not seeing it?

This was a thought-provoking and enjoyable read. I look forward to seeing more work by Imran Khan in the future. I hope to see more in this world, but if not I still look forward to it. I’m grateful to the writer, Unbound Digital, and Love Books Tours for including me in this tour.

Who’s It For?

If you’re a fan of Neil Gaiman and, specifically Sandman and Good Omens, you’ll love this. Also, if you enjoyed “Cloud Cuckoo Land” and “Cloud Atlas,” you’ll probably like this as well. It’s very cerebral in a similar way to those titles and has a lot to say about society.

Content Warning: Religious Ideologies, War, Violence, Child Death, Graphic Death, Parent Death, Child Death, Adult Situations, Adult Language, and More

About the Author

Having kickstarted his career in the heady world of 1990s independent magazine publishing with work on Dazed and Confused, and launching seminal style title 2nd Generation, Imran Khan jumped into the mainstream with BBC London – hosting radio shows on popular culture, arts and news as the millennium approached. In 2001 he produced a series of short documentaries for BBC Newsnight, Britain’s leading current affairs programme. His work was noticed in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks and Channel 4 commissioned the award-winning film “The Hidden Jihad”, which he wrote and presented. Imran subsequently moved full-time into TV news, working as a BBC producer and correspondent reporting from Lebanon, London, and Qatar, with freelance stints in Afghanistan and Iraq.

He became a correspondent for Al Jazeera English in 2005 and is known for his extensive reporting from Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Palestine, Libya, and Ukraine, as well as covering the Arab Spring and the conflict in Syria. Increasingly, Imran reports on climate change as the world finally wakes up to the issue. He continues to work as a correspondent for Al Jazeera English, dividing his time between the Middle East, South Asia, and London.

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