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I Loved "The Sweetness of Tears"
Nafisa Haji's newest novel, "The Sweetness of Tears" is a wonderful book that has engaging and well developed characters, an interesting plot line, and a plethora of information on Pakistani life. Haji deals with family life and culture in Karachi as well as the differences that ensue when Pakistani families emigrate to the United States. Her characters also cope with effects of the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Because each chapter is told from the different character's point of view, the reader feels that they are inside their heads and know what makes them tick. For those who have difficulty with books that include foreign words, Haji has even included a glossery at the end.
Laureen S. (Aurora, IL)
This would be a great book club book - especially for groups who enjoyed other West Asian books such as "The Kite Runner." I thoroughly enjoyed the book and will definitely recommend it. I also want to find and read Haji's first novel, "The Writing on My Forehead."
I struggled through the first 50 or so pages because there were so many characters - it was hard to keep track of how they were all connected. Once I got passed that, I was hooked! Haja does a terrific job exploring a multitude of difficult but import themes. In addition, she does a wonderful job explaining the Muslim religion, the differences between cultures and religions and drawing you into these characters worlds by moving you with their voices. I will be recommending it to my friends.
Nikki M. (Fort Wayne, IN)
After loving "The Writing on My Forehead" by Nafisa Haji, I was looking forward to what proved to be a very interesting, if somewhat disjointed, novel. Much attention must be paid to what voice you are "listening" to. May be worth a re-read just to clarify some things!
Lola T. (Broken Arrow, OK)
The Sweetness of Tears
I had several reservations or hastily made judgements as I dipped into the first section of the book, but I am so happy to say the fears were not realized. I was on guard fearing that this might be a "preachy, Christian" novel, but I couldn't have been farther from the truth!
Molly B. (Longmont, CO)
Some pearls of wisdom
I love books that really give me insight into a culture or religion, and does this one deliver!!
The differing points of view were well-done, although in the beginning I did need to keep track of who was who. Their voices were well-defined and clear. The "forbidden love" that is the impetus for the stories of all involved seemed just a tad far-fetched, but, I suppose stranger things happen in real life!
If there was a fault, I'd say the story was wrapped up a little too neatly - and quickly - at the end.
I loved the book and will recommend it, especially to individuals who read looking for books that their group will enjoy. Congratulations on a novel well-done!!
This book moves ahead in interesting ways. Unlikely topics and worlds combine authentically. It teaches while entertaining – a great mix. By reminding us of our shared humanity, the author offers transcending links between two cultures that we have been taught are diametrically opposed. There are some real pearls. Haji proposes that “the messy complicated nature of truth” is essential to well-being; that grief is a better choice than anger because it “ages better”; and she describes the “rare gift” of the chance to atone. I shed a few tears myself reading this book, and each one was sweet.
Lee M. (Creve Coeur, MO)
The book unfolds slowly and caringly and introduces Angela, Sadiq, Jo and Chris, a very unusual extended family. The author adds equally fascinating characters; Uncle Ron, Jake, grandma Faith and my favorite Deena. Nafisa Haji's knowledge and research shines in her descriptions of Pakistan, Iraq, and Southern California. The Glossary is an added bonus.
Sandra S. (Huntington Woods, Michigan)
The Sweetness of Tears by Nafisa Haji
This book begins as a mystery for the main character as well as a mystery for the reader. The main character has a feeling of doubt that she know the answer to, that gives the book its page-turning, powerful aspect. It takes the main character Jo, and the reader to many different countries she never thought she'd visit. She'd meet people who were strangers to her, but at the same time she felt she knew them. She never questioned the fact that the life journey she was on was what she was suppose to be doing. I believe knowing the answer that Jo was looking for the reader can enjoy learning as Jo does about all of the many characters she meets and learns about that the reader does not know. The book is also about religions. The Muslim religion is explained in detail. The difference between the Shiite and Sunni religion is explained. The author uses many Middle Eastern words and includes a glossary at the back of the book for the reader. I not only found this book to be very interesting and exciting, but I also found it to be educational.
Susan R. (Julian, NC)
The Sweetness of Life
I was very close to giving up on this book for the first 50 pages but I continued reading because I had really enjoyed this author's first book (The Writing on my Forehead). I made a list of all of the characters as they appeared in the book so that could connect the families. Once I did that, I couldn't put the book down. I think that this author presents a unique view on the differences of the two cultures - but then lets us see that ultimately we all strive for the same things in our lives no matter where we are from. I highly recommend this book.