Wise and assured, The Sweetness of Tears is a powerful reminder of the ties that bind us, the choices that divide us, and the universal joys and tragedies that shape us all.
In her second novel, Nafisa Haji returns to the emotional terrain of her well-received debut The Writing on My Forehead to explore the collision of culture and religion, tradition and modernity played out through individual lives. A story of forbidden love and familial dysfunction that interweaves multiple generational and cultural viewpoints, The Sweetness of Tears is a tour de force of secrets, pain, identity, and hope in which a young woman's quest to find herself leads her to greater truths about the world and life itself.
When faith and facts collide, Jo March - a young woman born into an Evangelical Christian dynasty - wrestles with doubts and questions about who she is and how she fits into the legacy of her faithful family.
Chasing loose threads that she hopes will lead to the truth takes Jo on an unlikely quest across boundaries of language an faith, through chasms of sectarian divides in the Muslim world, against the backdrop of the War on Terror, from California to Chicago, Pakistan to Iraq. As she delves deep into the past, she meets a host of relatives from diverse backgrounds - many of whom she never knew existed - whose experiences are indelibly intertwined with her own. By the end of the journey, she learns that nothing is ever as it seems, and that the most spiritually devoted are often those who once questioned their beliefs the most.
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"[Haji's] new novel will appeal to readers interested in the clash of cultures. Promising for discussion, as the reading group guide suggests." - Library Journal
"As each character's life unfolds, Haji's focus expands to the breaking point... Somewhere in all of this is a family story, and the many threads eventually cleave to illustrate how a complicated blend of race, religion, culture, and tradition can create peace rather than conflict." - Publishers Weekly
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Nafisa Haji is an American of Indo-Pakistani descent. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she now lives in Northern California with her husband and son. Her first novel, The Writing on My Forehead, was a finalist for the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association Book of the Year Award.
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