Read advance reader review of A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza, page 9 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
  • Critics' Opinion:

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  • First Published:
    Jun 2018, 448 pages

    Mar 2019, 400 pages


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There are currently 62 member reviews
for A Place for Us
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  • Catherine O. (Altavista, VA)
    Unique Voice
    The characters in A Place For Us are so compelling and rich that they pull you along through a deep and complicated family history. The young author has a very strong voice that unfortunately became lost for me at times as she switched narrators and timelines.
    What kept me reading was the unique look at a 1st generation Muslim Indian American family, what the parents hoped to gain from raising their children in America as well as what they lost by leaving their culture behind. Any reader who enjoys a book that immerses them in a different life would enjoy reading A Place For Us.
  • Lucy S. (Westford, MA)
    Tugs at your heartstrings
    Writing was beautiful, emotionally descriptive but a sadness ran through the characters' stories. There was much love but competition between keeping those traditions and honoring differences of belief. I had some difficulty with the non-linear development of the story. One is so invested in the characters, the intense regret and sadness was almost too pervasive.
  • Judith G. (Ewa Beach, HI)
    Families and decisions
    This story flips back and forth in time. This is a style of narrative I don't like. That said the continuing story line through three generations of a Muslim family living in the USA kept my interest throughout. Part 4 was my least favorite part of the story. Reminiscences that seemed unnecessary to me. It's 383 pages of years in the life of a sometimes dysfunctional family who love one another through the painful moments.
  • Barbara F. (Santa Monica, CA)
    The Promise of a Place for Us Not Delivered
    A beautiful, heartfelt novel about a loving, observant Muslim-American family. A story about faith & love and the dreams parents have for their 3 children. It's akso a story about the deep pain that can happen—despite the best of intentions—when we make mistakes, have regrets, but don't acknowledge them to those we've hurt. And then it's too late.

    "A Place for Us" is a gentle novel with narratives from the viewpoints (as their children grow to adulthood) of the parents Rafiq & Layla, their 2 daughters, who by external measurements, have 'achieved' the American Dream—good marriages, jobs that are vocations as well as avocations, children, and also still strong connections to their faith and family of origin.
    The youngest son Amar, is the doubter/questioner/outlier in the family where both sisters, Huda and Hadia have mostly gone along, though Hadia chose her husband and both daughters have professional lives, too. Amar, the 'troubled son' is like a touchstone for the novel's themes of identity/conforming to—or struggling to find your own path, & community/acceptance when you go along—or alienation from when you don't. The novel speaks eloquently to how our family's history can shape us—for better and for worse.

    Though this is a story of a family & their love for one another, it is also one of heartbreak and regret—the inability—or unwillingness—1. to step back, 2. push through a rigid set of beliefs re: how things/children 'must be/must act', and 3. allow their unique truths to unfold, as difficult & uncomfortable as that might be for the others, i.e. parents, siblings, the community. The regrets of every family members are those many of us can relate to—but the opportunity to make it right (or try to) was missed by everyone, Amar included. That's what seems to haunt all the characters as make the story more painful, at least it did for me.

    As Leonard Cohen wrote in "Anthem', "there is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in." It didn't for Amar, and it broke my heart. Perhaps it still might.
  • Jenna
    A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza
    Wow! I have always had an affinity for books that are about people with different ethnic backgrounds than myself. I think it is so interesting to be able to learn about a culture, while also reading and being engaged in a story. This book did just that. This family saga had dysfunction and conflict. It was most certainly a page-turner and was hard to put-down. I also found it hard to believe that this was the author's debut. This book had a polished and authentic tone. I would definitely recommend it and will be interested in reading this author's sophomore novel.
  • VOB
    A Place for Us
    A Place for Us is the story of a Muslim American family’s acculturation into the American society. The parents sought to maintain strict control over their children’s lives and kept them totally enmeshed in their emigrant community. This approach created problems for the children but especially for their son who never accepted his family’s tight control and rigid attitudes. The parents loved their children and wanted to do best for them but only within their rigid boundaries. I have read many books about the emigrant experience in the United States but this book failed to capture my interest and empathy,
    The author uses a narrative line that moves back and forth through time, a technique that was ineffective for me. I did not enjoy reading about events that happened and then be switched back to a time before those events. I have become so annoyed with the writer’s style and technique that I am not going to finish the book. It is one long description of the demise of a lost, lonely boy without many redeeming qualities in terms of style and character development.

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