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.
Like coming home.
Like a long, slow hug.
Like a song that you can’t get out of your head.
A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza is one of the most extraordinary, thought provoking pieces of literature I have read in a very long time and I cannot recommend it highly enough. I am so very honored to have been included in this beautiful group of reviewers and to have read something so spectacular together with them.
It is my fear that I cannot possibly do this gorgeous book justice with a review. So this is not a review; these are my thoughts on what is sure to be one of the most moving, beautifully written pieces of work I will ever read.
For me personally, I tend to judge the strength of a book on its “unputdownability” however in this case, I had the absolute opposite response: I stretched it out for as long as I could and savored very single beautiful, heartfelt word.
The writing has been compared to “spun glass” and that is precisely what you will find here. So delicately and beautifully detailed, the words will grab ahold of you, take you on an emotional journey and never let you go.
In essence, this is a story of a family who is trying to understand how to exist in a world where their two cultures are colliding. But this could be the story of any family, which is what affected me so deeply – the daily struggles, attempting to do what you think is best for yourself and your children – and how these decisions can affect your family dynamic forever.
This book affected me profoundly on many different levels, from the emotional pull I felt for these characters to the excitement of learning about a new culture.
You will find beautiful customs. You will find struggle and deeply human connection. You will feel and you will empathize and you will find a story that will touch your heart. Highly, highly recommend. One thousand stars.
A massive thank you to SJP for Hogarth for providing me with a copy of this extraordinary book. And thank you to the other Traveling Sisters for the most profound discussion.