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Above Us the Milky Way: Book summary and reviews of Above Us the Milky Way by Fowzia Karimi

Above Us the Milky Way

by Fowzia Karimi

Above Us the Milky Way by Fowzia Karimi X
Above Us the Milky Way by Fowzia Karimi
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About this book

Book Summary

Above Us the Milky Way is a story about war, immigration, and the remarkable human capacity to create beauty out of horror.

As a young family attempts to reconstruct their lives in a new and peaceful country, they are daily drawn back to the first land through remembrance and longing, by news of the continued suffering and loss of loved ones, and by the war dead, who have immigrated and reside with them, haunting their days and illuminating the small joys and wonders offered them by the new land.

The novel's structure is built around the alphabet, twenty-six pieces written in the first person that sketch a through-line of memory for the lives of the five daughters, mother, and father. Ghost stories and fairytales are woven with old family photographs and medieval-style watercolor illuminations to create an origin story of loss and remembrance.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Karimi's startling debut pieces together a pastiche of memory, folklore, and multilayered sense impressions with photographs from Karimi's childhood and illustrations of her own making...A novel powerful in both its beauty and its uncompromising horror whose themes are as sadly timely as they are eternal." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"A skilled technician whose prose flows like intuition, Karimi parses the beats of her paragraphs with the attention of a poet. Rich with images and imagery, the book is beautiful, both illuminated and illuminating." – Foreword Reviews (starred review)

"Karimi's steady pace and loosely defined setting will allow readers to share in the characters' dreams and visions of their 'first land.' Fans of Lost Children Archive will love this." - Publishers Weekly

"An ambitious abecedary of family, trauma and life and a love letter to the universe with many moments of power and resplendence." – Jennifer Croft, author of Homesick

"Above us the Milky Way is a stunning, visionary debut: it hums and glows with blinding brilliance and profound humanity. It's a book about war, love, family, displacement, dreams, grief, beauty, and the secret alchemies that form our inner worlds. At once boldly cosmic and keenly relevant to our times, this book is a peerless treasure." – Carolina De Robertis, author of Cantoras

"Above Us the Milky Way is a philosophical, richly sensory meditation on memory, loss, nostalgia, and the inheritances of war. Illustrated with family photographs and exquisite, often surreal, watercolors, Fowzia Karimi offers us intimate portals to grief, displacement, and survival." – Cristina García, author of Here in Berlin

This information about Above Us the Milky Way was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

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Pure Beauty
I can honestly say Above Us the Milky Way is one of the best pieces of literature I’ve ever read. After a lifetime of absorbing, recording, and observing with all senses, Karimi shares richly descriptive tales of a family transplanted from their war-torn homeland to a strange new land of sun and peace. Internally though, they continue to exist in both worlds simultaneously. This collection of beautifully curated stories embraces childhood, memory, truth, joy, terror, but most acutely, LOVE. Love for nature, family, biology, books, the dead, and the stars.
Her level of craft is exceptional - distilled, composed, and organized, and at the same time playful, free, and poetic. The text is accompanied by family photos and stunning original watercolors that illuminate and elevate the storytelling in a way that neither word nor image could do alone.
I read it slowly, and savored the complex tapestry that Karimi masterfully weaves - the interconnectedness of micro and macro, the family and the cosmos.
I can’t wait to read it again…highly recommended!!!

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Author Information

Fowzia Karimi

Fowzia Karimi was born in Kabul, Afghanistan and immigrated with her family to Southern California after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College in Oakland, California, and has illustrated The Brick House by Micheline Aharonian Marcom (Awst Press) and Vagrants and Uncommon Visitors by A. Kendra Greene (Anomalous Press). She is a recipient of The Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Award. She lives in Texas.

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