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A Place for Us

by Fatima Farheen Mirza

A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza X
A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza
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  • First Published:
    Jun 2018, 448 pages

    Mar 2019, 400 pages


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  • Dorinne D. (Wickenburg, AZ)
    A Timely Story
    This is a very well written story about an Indian-American Muslim family. The subject matter is timely, and I hope many will read it as it helps us to understand the difficulties Muslim families encounter in assimilating into American social life while still maintaining their Muslim religious traditions and beliefs.
  • Carol F. (Lake Linden, MI)
    A Place for Us
    A Place for Us is the story of a family bound by Muslim traditions as the children struggle to grow up in a world where their faith and their culture label them as different. Beautifully written with passages that compel you to read them again and remember the words written here are pure and beautiful.

    Although a fictional account of a Muslim family, it is also a very real chance to understand the traditions and beliefs that make raising Muslim children in America a difficult responsibility. Hadia as the oldest struggles to find her place not only in the family but in friendships where she is forbidden to attend sleepovers or parties. Amar as the only son seeks normalcy by defying the mores that bind him to the strict rules of their faith.

    There are times in the story when the prejudice that this family encounters is very real and sadly becomes very nonfictional.
  • Sara (Illinois)
    A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza
    A Place for Us is an epic story of a Muslim Indian American family living in California. It is not surprising that actor Sarah Jessica Parker has chosen it to be the first book on the SJP for Hogarth list, her new line of Crown Publishing titles comprised of works by established and emerging critically successful authors.

    Timely in its subject-matter and exquisitely written, Mirza's story embodies universal themes while highlighting the immigrant experience unique to Muslims. On the opening pages, we find a family preparing for the wedding of their eldest daughter, Hadia, and the return of their son, Amar. Amar has been in self-exile after years of mounting tension with his father, Rafiq. The book examines cultural and interpersonal dynamics as well as events leading up to this point.

    Layla and Rafiq, parents of Hadia, Huda, and Amar, are devout Muslims who raise their children in the rich traditions, stories, and beliefs of their religion. Mirza weaves many of the prayers and customs, followed reverently by Layla and Rafiq, into the plot and shows how central a role the Mosque plays in the lives of the community. But when their American born children develop ideas of their own, tension builds.

    This is most evident in their youngest child, Amar. Amar is both dreamy and rebellious. He likes to write. He reads poetry. But he is a poor student and this provokes his father's disdain. He pushes boundaries to an extreme and begins a pattern of risk-taking behavior that culminates in tragedy.

    Mirza has written a moving portrayal of a family in crisis. It poses the question of who, if anyone, is responsible for the self-destructive behavior of a family member. Rafiq and Hadia wrestle with this question—even on the day of her marriage.

    A Place for Us is a beautifully told story of one immigrant family trying to find a place in American society. It explores the difficulty of loving more fully and less conditionally. Ultimately, the book is about acceptance, forgiveness, and hopefully, redemption.
  • Linda Z. (Melville, NY)
    Family Tradition and Love
    “A Place for Us” by Fatima Farheen Mirza is intriguing and captivating story of an Indian-American Muslim family. The struggle and conflict of observing one’s faith, tradition, needs and wants is intense. A constant theme of finding balance in a complicated society. The genres for the novel are Fiction and Women’s Fiction. The story mostly takes place in California. The timeline in this story vacillate between the past and present as it pertains to the events and characters.

    The author describes her colorful cast of characters as complicated, complex and confused. The story can be told as seen through the eyes of each character. I appreciate that the author describes the religion, and traditions, culture and food, and clothing. Hadia, the oldest daughter in the family is getting married to a man that she chose herself, breaking away from the tradition of having a husband chosen for her. Hadia is a physician and has invited their estranged brother Amar to her wedding. Amar does come to the wedding, and surprises his parents Layla and Rafiq , and his other sister Huma. Betrayals, conflicts, and questions of forgiveness come up at this time.

    The author describes the time period around 9/11, when Rafiq encourages his daughters to wear American clothes, not to be singled out. Amar gets into a major racist fight at school, when other students accuse him of being a terrorist. The students tell him to go home. Amar tries to deal with the fact that America is his home.

    The author discusses the family dynamics of love, support , change, forgiveness, acceptance and hope. I would recommend this story for those readers who appreciate an emotional conflicted inspirational story. I received an ARC for my honest review.
  • Joan P. (Owego, NY)
    A Place For Us
    This is one of the best books that I have read in years. I'm no fan of flashbacks or multiple narrators but this author makes it work. We are introduced to a religious Islamic family in America, Layla, Rafiq, and their children, Hadia, Huda, and Amar. Piece by piece Mirza encapsulates a time, place and event that builds a character. We see strict gender and social rules of a religion that expects much of its adherents. I learned a lot but was also captured by the beautiful, thoughtful writing telling an intriguing tale of family and how we struggle to understand and love one another through many difficulties. I'm pretty stingy with my stars but I would give this book six stars if I could.
  • Susan P. (Boston, MA)
    A Place for Us
    A rich and heart-felt story of a Muslim Indian-American family in California in the early 21st century. The youngest child, the only son, is troubled yet adored. Each member of the family tries but each often fails to make others happy. Quietly told from various points of view, it is subtle and sympathetic. The guidance and constraints of religion and community mores are illuminating. This is a book everyone should read about another culture within our own country. It was very hard to put down.
  • Susan B. (Rutledge, MO)
    heartbreaking, touching, excellent read
    I found this to be an excellently written, educational, and deeply moving read. I was not very familiar with the culture and religion of the family portrayed in the book, and I enjoyed learning more, even undertaking quite a few internet side-journeys into Islamic culture, history, and religion. The family at the center of the book is similar in some ways to my own, making my compare-and-contrast exercises eye-opening as well. I found their interactions engrossing, sometimes amusing, and often heartbreaking. I was often brought to tears, in the very best way. Highly recommended.

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