Tuesday, March 26, 2019

A Place for Us by Fatima Mirza - Book Review

Time for another - way longer than intended - I should probably change the name of this thing I do, but I am also committed to the project. help. #60secondbookreview of "A Place for Us" by Fatima Farheen Mirza - a book that felt like being wrapped up in a warm blanket - so cozy.

"A Place for Us" by Fatima Mirza is a *debut novel* ( holy moly how is this her first novel, it's so good!?) it follows an Indian American Muslim family. The book begins at the wedding of the eldest daughter, Hadia. Hadia has decided to invite her brother, Amar,  to her wedding even though he has been estranged from their family for the last three years.

Through the next 400 plus pages, you get a very close look at the interpersonal relationships of this family. The novel moves forward and back in time and shows the reader how the parents met, how the siblings have interacted with each other, and also each of the characters individual lives, and possibly most important, how the parents interact with their children. And after all of that depth, the reader gets a very good sense of why Amar is estranged from his family and just how complicated his return will be for all of the characters.

I really enjoyed reading "A Place for Us", and I think one of the reasons it works so well is the author's ability to make you feel like you are a part of this family - by the end of the novel you know all of their in's and out's - and because of that it is also does an excellent job of exploring identity. How family and religion can aide but also complicate that process. One you think you've found that, once you feel like you know yourself, your families fight against that image can be a misguided attempt at showing their love, but it can also be one of the most harmful things you experience. 

I did struggle a bit to get into this book, it's a common criticism of the book, so it's nice not to feel alone in that - the hurdle for me was that the book jumps around quite a bit in the timeline of this family, and also between different characters. But, once I was all in, I was all in, and also really want this book to be adapted to film, really rooting for this to happen!

Have you read "A Place for Us"? What were your experiences while reading the novel, which characters did you connect with most? Comment down below and let's chat about it!


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