A Place for Usby Fatima Farheen Mirza Published 12 Jun 2018
|A Place for Us.pdf|
|Publisher||SJP for Hogarth|
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A Place for Us unfolds the lives of an Indian-American Muslim family, gathered together in their Californian hometown to celebrate the eldest daughter, Hadia’s, wedding–a match of love rather than tradition. It is here, on this momentous day, that Amar, the youngest of the siblings, reunites with his family for the first time in three years. Rafiq and Layla must now contend with the choices and betrayals that lead to their son’s estrangement–the reckoning of parents who strove to pass on their cultures and traditions to their children, and of children who in turn struggle to balance authenticity in themselves with loyalty to the home they came from.
In a narrative that spans decades and sees family life through the eyes of each member, A Place For Us charts the crucial moments in the family's past, from the bonds that bring them together to the differences that pull them apart. And as siblings Hadia, Huda, and Amar attempt to carve out a life for themselves, they must reconcile their present culture with their parent's faith, to tread a path between the old world and the new, and learn how the smallest decisions can lead to the deepest of betrayals.
A deeply affecting and resonant story, A Place for Us is truly a book for our times: a moving portrait of what it means to be an American family today, a novel of love, identity and belonging that eloquently examines what it means to be both American and Muslim-and announces Fatima Farheen Mirza as a major new literary talent.
"A Place for Us" Reviews
She could hold in her heart a belief in Islam as well as the unwavering belief that every human had the right to choose who they loved, and how, and that belief was in exact accordance with her faith: that it is the individual's right to choose, and the individual's duty to empathize with one another.
Do you love those slow-burning, quiet family dramas that take you so fully into the lives of the characters? The kind that show complex human beings trying, often failing, and trying again to do their best? It's not an action-packed fantasy or a spine-tingling thriller, but get me in the right mood and I adore these kinds of books. Celeste Ng is one of my personal favourites.
And A Place for Us is a perfect example of one of these books. It moves from the present to the past and back again to tell a carefully-crafted tale of an Indian-American Muslim family and all the conflicts and love that exist between its members. It spans several decades and explores themes of culture, faith and identity.
"Somewhere (A Place For Us)" is a song that musical lovers will know well. It comes from West Side Story, which sees two lovers torn apart by cultural and familial differences, in the vein of Romeo and Juliet. This book tells a similar story, yet the divisions exist within one single family instead of between two. Will they ever get to a place beyond the burden of their differences?
The book opens with a wedding. The bride is Hadia - a young woman who we soon learn has broken tradition by choosing her own husband and embracing more modern interpretations of Islam. We also learn that she has invited her brother, Amar, to the wedding and this will be the first time the family has been reunited since Amar ran away years before.
Then we move back in time and a picture slowly starts to build of this family. Mirza shows the intricacies in relationships, whether it be between husband and wife, brother and sister, or mother and daughter. As this family is drawn in detail, we are also taken through experiences relating to 9/11, forbidden love, and the loss of a close friend whose death affects them all.
Ultimately, A Place for Us is about what it means to be both American and Muslim; it is about the clash of religious and cultural tradition with modern ideas and the right to choose. Hadia faces decisions about wearing the hijab and arranged marriage - can she please her parents and be her own person at the same time? Is it possible to unite the old with the new?
My only (small) complaint is that I think another round of editing could have shaved off some of the parts that rehashed the same ideas over again. Depth is excellent; waffling is not. But anyway, it is a minor issue and I really enjoyed the book.
This is the first book from Sarah Jessica Parker's new imprint SJP for Hogarth and I have to say I am intrigued to see what else they publish.
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I may bump this up to 5 stars (but I like to sit with it a while first). This is one of the best, most emotionally resonant books I've read in a while. Complex, wistful, melancholy.
There are so many lessons that this book gives us. The most important is that it is very easy to love someone and not show them. How easy it is to push people away just by not speaking your thoughts. This book does a great job of weaving together the points of view from different characters. By doing this we are able to see the same events from these differing views. The timeline jumps around frequently without any real indication of when the story is in the timeline, such as indicating the year, but it is very easy to determine what timeframe the story is at by paying attention to the events that are mentioned. Normally I don't think this type of jumping around works, but from my perspective it flowed very well. This was a very touching story and is one of the most amazing stories I have read in a long time. I give it 5 stars & 4 tissues!
A Place For Us is a first novel for Fatima Farheen Mirza, and a first literary work acquired by Sarah Jessica Parker as editorial director for SJP for Hogarth.
This is the story of a Muslim Indian American family, and their community, living in California.
It begins with the wedding of Rafiq and Layla’s daughter Hadia’s wedding, a marriage based on love instead of the tradition. This wedding brings back together a family of five, including an estranged younger brother, Amar. The novel goes back and forth in time through the years of the children’s growing to adulthood.
The author did such a great job of of exploring the issues of love and loss, familial and cultural expectations, honor, betrayal, faith and tradition... and each characters perspective on the different situations as the story unfolded.
I loved this family and will be thinking about them for quite some time, I’m sure.
Thank you to NetGalley, SJP for Hogarth, and especially to Fatima for a beautiful first novel!!!
It’s been a few days since I finished reading A PLACE FOR US by Fatima Farheen Mirza, but I still think about this book and its characters almost on a daily basis. There’s something that’s part of the book’s plot that’s mirroring my life right now, but I know in my heart I’m remembering this story so much because it was just such a devastatingly beautiful and heartwarming experience. The writing pulled me in instantly, and I marveled at how natural the storytelling was. I’m convinced that Mirza was born to write this story, and I’ll be recommending it for a long time.
I’m always on the lookout for books with non-clichéd Muslim characters, and Mirza’s debut has filled a gaping whole in my life. Not only has it given me an intensely moving story of family, but it’s also managed to capture the essence of my religion in a way that I’ve never seen before in fiction.
Full review: https://sumaiyyareads.wordpress.com/2...
It is with tremendous excitement that I’m sharing Fatima Farheen Mirza’s novel, A Place for Us, the first book on the SJP for Hogarth list. When we first conceived of this imprint, and imagined the kinds of books we wanted to publish, I went back to my own bookshelves—to books I loved, books that expanded my horizons, and opened me up to other worlds. In A Place for Us, I found all this and more: an exquisitely tender-hearted story of a Muslim Indian American family caught between cultures, and a deeply moving story of identity and belonging.