Read advance reader review of A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza, page 7 of 9

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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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Page 7 of 9
There are currently 62 member reviews
for A Place for Us
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  • Ginny B. (Phoenixville, PA)
    Biblical themes in contemporary Muslim-American family
    I found this book to be both educational & deeply moving. Covering decades in the life of a contemporary Indian-American, devoutly Muslim family, it encompasses such ancient themes as generational divides, father-son estrangement, patriarchal family culture and heartbreaking betrayals and misunderstandings. The novel opens with the marriage celebration of the oldest daughter, revealing in the early pages the estrangement of the youngest member and only son, Amar. The plot is complex but the author's skill is most evident in her ability to gradually reveal those complexities through each family member's personal experiences within the family, comfortably shifting back and forth in time, moving the reader to empathize deeply with each of them and their struggles. The parents' devout Muslim faith and their bonds within their religious community play a strong part in the story and may serve to educate some readers in a positive sense regarding Islam as a faith and the difficulties of raising children in a minority faith, particularly in this current age of intolerance and ignorance. I am grateful for having had the opportunity to read this novel and I cannot recommend it highly enough.
  • sunset
    A Place for Us for
    Initially I found it difficult to follow because of the many brief flashbacks in the story, but became more comfortable with the style and the central characters. Beautifully and touchingly written, it is a family's story in America while struggling to maintain their Indian Muslim roots. The theme is so timely where many are rethinking our country's role in helping middle Eastern refugees seeking asylum and our own immigrant past.

    Impressed with the author's first work and look forward to reading more from her.
  • Katherine D. (Rochester, NY)
    A Place for Us
    This is the story of a Muslim family coming of age in California, in the late 20th Century. The parents were raised in another time and place, with strong traditions, expectations and boundaries. The children, each in his/her own way, are challenging all of these aspects of living. Their parents are absolutely mystified by the behavior of the children, and at one point the Mother, Layla, wonders where these children have come from. They do not reflect the values of either parent.

    This is a very complex accounting of the family which was to have taken place on a single day: the wedding of the older daughter which had not been "arranged". The time jumps back and forth many times as the back-story is filled in. It was the discontinuity of such frequent breaks in the narrative that made it difficult to follow. For this reason, this reader had to rate it "average".
  • bridgnut
    A Place for us
    Just started book. I recommend making a list of characters and their relationship to each other on paper. Makes it easier to follow along with the story.
  • Millicent G. (Cypress, TX)
    Families Are Complicated...
    On a wall in my home I have a chalkboard that I write sayings on that have touched me in some way. I used to change these sayings frequently but the words on it today have been there for the past two years. "Life is short ...there is no time to leave important things unsaid..."

    I grew up in a multi-generational home, an Irish/Italian family, third generation on both sides. Part of a close, loving, laughing family where secrets were closely guarded from the children and no one honestly shared their thoughts, fears and scary feelings if that would cause family members to be upset. The only exception was anger which exploded out at times.

    Sound familiar? Fatima has written a story that felt so real to me. Different ethnicity, different religion, different area of our country but so eerily similar in so many ways. It was uncomfortable to read at times because I was yelling at the characters to please stop talking, please let it go, please do not say that ... I wanted them to know that what they were doing was not going to end well ... trust me on this one.

    I had to stop reading several times and shake off their lives and problems because I became too involved and frustrated with the entire family.

    As someone who has been in the same book club for over 20 years, I think this book is a treasure trove of themes we would love to discuss. However, I also think some of my fellow members might feel the book was slow to read and structurally difficult because of the constant and sudden movement between the past and present.

    However, I will encourage my friends to persevere because the opportunity to intimately take part in the life of this family is a gift we all need in these divided times. We need to walk in each other's shoes for understanding to begin growing ... Fatima Arleen Mirza allows us to do that.
  • Florence K. (Northridge, CA)
    A Place for Us
    A well-told generational story about the clash between old world traditions and mores and more modern ones. This talented author has done a fine job in depicting the enduring love and the heartbreak that occur in so many families.

    The crux of the book was the ongoing conflict between a stern and unyielding father and his wayward son. Although father-son conflicts have been written about since Biblical times this one had a different approach. The mother and the two older sisters added some spice to the family dynamics.

    The non-linear story development of the story added charm to the book; the inner monologues of the fourth chapter were powerful indeed. A Place for Us was not a quick or easy read, but a very satisfying one.
  • Betty B. (Irving, TX)
    Finding Our Own Place
    Beautifully written, A Place for Us introduces us to an Indian Muslim family finding their own place in California. It covers love, family, faith, betrayal, contrition, absolution as we follow the family and watch the the two sisters and their brother grow from young children to mature adults. We see the mistakes that are made and experience the heartache that can follow. My only problem with this book is the structure which goes back and forth in time and from one character's perspective to another and which sometimes broke the flow for me and was not always as smooth as I would have liked. I did enjoy learning more about this family's faith.

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