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Book summary and reviews of Radiant Fugitives by Nawaaz Ahmed

Radiant Fugitives by Nawaaz Ahmed

Radiant Fugitives

by Nawaaz Ahmed

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  • Published:
  • Aug 2021
    384 pages
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Book Summary

A dazzling, operatic debut novel following three generations of a Muslim Indian family confronted with a nation on the brink of change.

Working as a consultant for Kamala Harris's attorney general campaign in Obama-era San Francisco, Seema has constructed a successful life for herself in the West, despite still struggling with her father's long-ago decision to exile her from the family after she came out as lesbian. Now, nine months pregnant and estranged from the Black father of her unborn son, Seema seeks solace in the company of those she once thought lost to her: her ailing mother, Nafeesa, traveling alone to California from Chennai, and her devoutly religious sister, Tahera, a doctor living in Texas with her husband and children.

But instead of a joyful reconciliation anticipating the birth of a child, the events of this fateful week unearth years of betrayal, misunderstanding, and complicated layers of love—a tapestry of emotions as riveting and disparate as the era itself.

Told from the point of view of Seema's child at the moment of his birth, and infused with the poetry of Wordsworth and Keats and verses from the Quran, Radiant Fugitives is a moving tale of a family and a country grappling with acceptance, forgiveness, and enduring love.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"This dazzling, heartrending debut follows two Indian sisters and their mother as they work to patch up fractures in their family...Ahmed brilliantly maps the tension between the three women with emotional acuity, and as Seema's pregnancy unfolds, Ahmed slowly builds to a showdown, culminating in a shattering and unforgettable conclusion. This is a gem." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Nawaaz Ahmed's Radiant Fugitives is expansive, graceful, and astounding in its tenderness; it's a novel that untangles the infinite layers a love can conjure." - Bryan Washington, Vulture

"Nawaaz Ahmed's remarkable debut is both a profound meditation on political and social injustices, and an intimate, delicately wrought examination of the complications inherent to issues of desire, identity, and family...Political and poetic, Ahmed's novel is a provocative meditation on forgiveness, compassion, and family." - Refinery29

"I've never read a novel like Nawaaz Ahmed's Radiant Fugitives, and, I kid you not, I've been waiting for this tremendous, complex, moving novel for years, but never expected to receive it...There is so much of life in this book." - Electric Literature

"Elegantly crafted and luminously written, Nawaaz Ahmed's first novel is a fearless exploration of the clash between identity, sexuality, and religion." - Manil Suri, author of The City of Devi

"Radiant Fugitives is a rare marvel, an intimate epic of faith and family, love and politics, knit together by a magical omniscience of profound compassion." - Peter Ho Davies, author of A Lie Someone Told You About Yourself

"Nawaaz Ahmed's remarkable debut novel brings to life a loving family torn apart by parental rejection, clashing values, sibling rivalry, and geographical and emotional distances. Radiant Fugitives is a profound and in-depth exploration of our common humanity, and the ways in which we are more alike than different." - Wally Lamb, New York Times bestselling author of I Know This Much Is True

This information about Radiant Fugitives 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.

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Author Information

Nawaaz Ahmed

Nawaaz Ahmed was born in Tamil Nadu, India. Before turning to writing, he was a computer scientist, researching search algorithms for Yahoo. He holds an MFA from University of Michigan–Ann Arbor and is the winner of several Hopwood Awards. He is the recipient of residencies at MacDowell, Yaddo, Djerassi, and VCCA. He's also a Kundiman and Lambda Literary Fellow. He currently lives in Brooklyn.

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