‘A compassionate, beautifully told portrait’ GUY GUNARATNE
‘This is absorbing, witty, eloquent fiction, as well as a trenchant political critique’ TOM BENN
‘A hymn to empathy, alive with care and love’ REBECCA WATSON
‘A heartbreaking, honest, and deeply important story’ JYOTI PATEL
Jamila Shah is twenty-nine and exhausted.
An immigration solicitor tasked with running the precious family law firm, Jamila is prone to being woken in the middle of the night by frantic phone calls from clients on the cusp of deportation. Working under the shadow of the government’s ‘hostile environment’, she constantly prays and hopes that their ‘determinations’ will result in her clients being allowed to stay.
With no time for friends, family or even herself (never mind a needy partner), Jamila’s life feels hectic and out of control. Then a breakdown of sorts forces her to seek change – to pursue her own happiness while navigating the endless expectations that the world seems to have of her, and still committing herself to a career devoted to helping others.
In this polyphonic, assured and character-driven debut, we meet the staff of Shah & Co Solicitors, who themselves arrived in the UK not too long ago, and their clients, more recent arrivals who are made to jump through hoops to create a life for themselves whilst trying to achieve some semblance of normality.
‘A compassionate, beautifully told portrait populated by lives that circle the UK’s lamentable immigration story. This is a story of determination, also grief, hope, loss and desperation, as well as a reminder of the care, patience and kindness at the human end of a broken system‘ – Guy Gunaratne, author of IN OUR MAD AND FURIOUS CITY and winner of the Dylan Thomas Prize and the Jhalak Prize.
‘Tawseef Khan dramatises timely quests for migrant justice amid the grinding frustrations and punitive hypocrisy of the modern British state. Resisting stereotypes and easy moralising, this is absorbing, witty, eloquent fiction, as well as a trenchant political critique‘ – Tom Benn, author of OXEBLOOD and winner of the 2022 Sunday Times Charlotte Aitken Young Writer of the Year Award
‘Determination is a hymn to empathy, alive with care and love . . . This is a novel not just to spend time with for the joy of the richly detailed world Khan has created but to be enlivened and challenged by. Embedded in his compelling and compassionate novel is an emphatic rebuttal to the racism and xenophobia rife in this country‘ – Rebecca Watson, author of LITTLE SCRATCH
‘A heart-breaking, honest, and deeply important story, providing a window into the world of a UK immigration lawyer and the lives touched by her work. This is a moving, immersive, and vital piece of fiction‘ – Jyoti Patel, author of THE THINGS THAT WE LOST and winner of the Merky Books New Writers Prize
TAWSEEF KHAN is a qualified immigration solicitor and holds a doctoral degree from the University of Liverpool, where he examined the fairness of the British asylum system. He is also a graduate of the creative writing programme at the University of East Anglia, where he received the Seth Donaldson Memorial Bursary. His fiction has appeared in Lighthouse and Test Signal: a Northern anthology; his non-fiction in the New York Times, The Face and Hyphen. His debut non-fiction book Muslim, Actually was published by Atlantic in 2021. He lives in Manchester.