Book Review | An Emotion of Great Delight by Tahereh Mafi

An Emotion of Great Delight

Author: Tahereh Mafi  // Published: June 1, 2021




From bestselling and National Book Award-nominated author Tahereh Mafi comes a stunning novel about love and loneliness, navigating the hyphen of dual identity, and reclaiming your right to joy–even when you’re trapped in the amber of sorrow.

It’s 2003, several months since the US officially declared war on Iraq, and the American political world has evolved. Tensions are high, hate crimes are on the rise, FBI agents are infiltrating local mosques, and the Muslim community is harassed and targeted more than ever. Shadi, who wears hijab, keeps her head down.

She’s too busy drowning in her own troubles to find the time to deal with bigots.

Shadi is named for joy, but she’s haunted by sorrow. Her brother is dead, her father is dying, her mother is falling apart, and her best friend has mysteriously dropped out of her life. And then, of course, there’s the small matter of her heart—

It’s broken.

Shadi tries to navigate her crumbling world by soldiering through, saying nothing. She devours her own pain, each day retreating farther and farther inside herself until finally, one day, everything changes.

She explodes.

An Emotion of Great Delight is a searing look into the world of a single Muslim family in the wake of 9/11. It’s about a child of immigrants forging a blurry identity, falling in love, and finding hope—in the midst of a modern war.



Thank you LibroFm and HarperCollins for the gifted ALC!

Where to start? Tahereh Mafi has been one of my favourite authors growing up. The Shatter Me series accompanied me when I was in school and I recall those being some of the best years of my life. I’ve been very excited about her writing books in different genres. I read A Very Large Expanse of Sea a few years back and I’ll admit, it wasn’t a favourite. I was a lot more excited about this one though and I definitely enjoyed this one a lot more.

I love that we always take a deep dive into the emotions of the characters when it comes to Tahereh Mafi’s book. That, paired with her wonderfully lyrical writing just makes the whole experience so much more interesting. I listened to the audiobook and the narrator did such an amazing job in bringing the words to life. Being in Shadi’s head was interesting, to say the least. Grief was the more dominant theme in this book (despite what the title says) and I definitely enjoyed how immersed I felt while listening to this. At some points, I felt like the emotions were my own and it gave me quite a lot of perspective. Shadi’s stream of consciousness was like being in a whirlwind and I must say that that was my favourite part of the book. I love experiencing books like this because they always make me feel so much bigger than myself and they take me so much deeper.

There were some points that bothered me. I felt like there was quite a bit of miscommunication here, especially between Shadi and her sister. Another thing was Shadi’s definition of a ‘best friend’ which was just plain toxic. I understood her feeling like she was the only person who would understand her but the girl was plain terrible and I wanted Shadi to wake up and realise that. We do things too late sometimes but I just hated how she made quite a lot of excuses for her.

Tahereh Mafi definitely delves into difficult subjects here like grief and the contradicting feelings that often come with it. Mental health is another one and I always appreciate how deep Mafi goes into this, there’s definitely no tiptoeing around it. After reading A Very Large Expanse of Sea, I had an idea about how the romance would be in this one. Not the biggest fan of that but overall really loved this book. The ending felt abrupt to a lot of people but it left me with a sense of hope. It felt like a glimpse into her life and in the end, there are a ton of possibilities and choices left in front of her. I love a book that makes me feel hopeful by the end and this one was like that for me.

About the Author



Tahereh Mafi is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Shatter Mes eries. She was born in a small city somewhere in Connecticut and currently resides in Santa Monica, California with her husband, fellow author Ransom Riggs. She can usually be found over-caffeinated and stuck in a book. Shatter Me is her first series, with television rights optioned by ABC Signature Studios; Furthermore, her first middle grade novel, is on shelves now, and Whichwood, its darker companion, will be on shelves November 14, 2017.



Have you read An Emotion of Great Delight yet?

4 thoughts on “Book Review | An Emotion of Great Delight by Tahereh Mafi

  1. I love a book that ends with a sense of hope and I am definitely listening to this book soon. Lovely review Noura ☺️

    Liked by 1 person

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