A PLACE FOR US

The Gulf Today - Panorama - - BOOKS - By Fa­tima Farheen Mirza

This novel, the first by 27-year-old Cal­i­for­nia writer Fa­tima Farheen Mirza, is a stunner, wor­thy of a place among the finest books ever writ­ten about an Amer­i­can fam­ily. It opens at the wed­ding of Ha­dia, a young doc­tor who is mar­ry­ing for love — rou­tine for her gen­er­a­tion, but not for her In­di­anamer­i­can im­mi­grant par­ents, Rafiq and Layla.

No mat­ter — all is joy­ous, ex­cept for one ten­sion: Ha­dia, her younger sis­ter, Huda, and her par­ents are all anx­ious be­cause the fam­ily’s youngest mem­ber, prodi­gal son Amar, has shown up after hav­ing been mostly in­com­mu­ni­cado for sev­eral years. Amar breaks all the rules and yet is deeply loved by his fam­ily de­spite their es­trange­ment from him. From this tense af­fair, the novel trav­els into the past to tell the fam­ily’s story from the points of view of Ha­dia, Amar and Rafiq. A Place for Us is a re­mark­able, beau­ti­ful and timely story, well de­serv­ing of the rave reviews it’s get­ting from ev­ery cor­ner.

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