They say inspiration strikes in the unlikeliest of places. Years ago, author Nell Freudenberger met a young Bangladeshi woman on a flight. As it turns out, this new immigrant, who would later become Freudenberger's friend, was traveling to the United States to marry an American man she had only met online. Years later, this real-life story became the basis for Freudenberger's short story "An Arranged Marriage," published in The New Yorker. With her friend's permission, that same story has come to form the heart of Freudenberger's second novel, The Newlyweds.
As the story opens, Amina is settling into her home in upstate New York with her soon-to-be husband George. She has come to the United States on the condition that George will convert to Islam, and that they will have a "proper" Muslim wedding in a nearby mosque or, at the very least, at the local Islamic center.
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