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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
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  • Published:
    Jun 2018, 448 pages

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Power Reviewer
Erica

Authentic view of life of the first and second generation immigrants
If you, your parents, your grandparents or people you know are immigrants to this country, this book will touch you on so many levels. The first generation to the country, holding on to the beliefs that make them the people they are, even if they are the "old ways"; their children, being raised on their parents values, while struggling to find their own identity in the country of their birth. There are also the family dynamics of birth order, male child vs. female child, and how culture controls and plays into that. The look into this immigrant's family life is eye-opening and educational. Written with great sensitivity. I can't say enough good things about this book.
Sherri A. (Westbrook, CT)

A Need-to-Read novel
Fatima Farheem Mirza's beautiful first novel has been called a novel for our times, and I heartily agree. The way in which she weaves the story of an Indian Muslim family's gathering for a daughter's wedding with the larger tale of identity and belonging left me breathless at times. Hard to believe this is a first novel. I definitely look forward to reading more from this author in the future.
Barbara C. (Fountain Hills, AZ)

A Place For Us
I really enjoyed reading this book. The differences between cultures and the tensions created was so well defined. The characters came to life and I as the reader sympathized with each of them. I usually am not a fan of first time authors but this author has a firm grasp on language, sense of place, dialogue,plot and timing. The final ruminating by the father went on a bit too long, but wrapped up the story well. I'm looking forward to reading another book by Mirza.
Power Reviewer
Betty T. (Warner Robins, GA)

You will long remember this family
I am amazed that this is Ms. Mirza's first book. It is beautifully written, describing the family dynamics of a Muslim Indian-American family and their desire to remain devout to their religion and continue their cultural traditions here in the US. Just like any family, anywhere, of any faith, the children strive to live up to their parents' expectations of them, often feeling frustration at the constraints they feel their parents have unfairly put upon them.

The story opens with the wedding of the oldest daughter Hadia to Tariq, a modern marriage of love rather than the traditional arranged marriage. On her daughter's wedding day, mother Layla thinks back to the early days of her arranged marriage with husband Rafiq who was an orphan who moved to America on his own, got a job, and established a good life for himself and his new immigrant wife Layla. They had three children - Hadia, Huda, and Amar. While all three of the children struggle with the decision to follow their parents' religious and cultural practices or not, Amar finds it especially difficult. He spends his entire life trying to find where he fits in and never truly feels that he belongs anywhere. Throughout the remainder of the book, Layla reflects back upon the lives of her children as they grew into adults and upon the stages of her own marriage.

Hadia has asked her beloved brother to attend her wedding even though Amar has been estranged from the family for three years. The relationship between Amar and his father has always been especially strained.

I enjoyed reading about the religious and cultural practices of the family. As I read I could see many similarities between the Muslim practices and my own Jewish practices. This book is a gives us the gift of looking into another culture with the utmost sensitivity and genuineness. The conflicts encountered, the family conflicts, the feeling of isolation, the heartbreak – all are portrayed with such compassion for the characters. This is a family you will not soon forget.
Linda Boschert

A Place For Us
This story is a fictional account of a Muslim Indian family and how they deal with many issues between each other, living in America, and being from a different ethnic background. The events of 911 are part of the rich history which this book encompasses, with reactions towards this family from fellow classmates, etc. I loved the writing style and topics included in this book and rate it highly! I enjoyed learning about the region their families originally came from, and the character studies throughout the book. The characters are revealed as the book goes on and you just cheer and cry for them!
Sarah H. (Arvada, CO)

The Beautiful Power of Story
Fatima Farheen Mirza honors and celebrates the power of story that gives the reader insight and connection to another culture they may never experience outside of the book. Yet the effects of the story are real and live on with the reader. This speaks strongly to the author's ability to create emotion and three dimensional characters in a warm and touching story of family.
Power Reviewer
Maggie R. (Canoga Park, CA)

My new family
The more I read, the more I appreciate Umberto Eco's comment that reading is another way of adding to your experience of life - equal to interactions in "real" life. (Maybe he didn't say exactly that - I haven't been able to locate the quote related to The Mysterious Flame of Loana). A Place for Us introduced me to a new family that now has a place in my heart and opens my mind in a way not likely to happen in reality. Would that we all diversify our experiences by reading - the possibilities are endless.
Becky S. (Springfield, MO)

Love, love, love it!
Absolutely loved this first time novel from author Fatima Farheen Mirza! A story that transcends culture to share the complications of the relationship between child and parent as children grow up and develop ideas and opinions of their own. The characters were rich and I had so much empathy for the father in the story.. he reminded me of my own dad in many ways. This would be a great book club read... so much good material to discuss! I can't wait to see what book #2 from this author brings!

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