A Place for Us

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 12 Sep 2018

Member Reviews

Norma and I read A Place For Us with 15 of our Traveling Sisters. Right from the very first mention of reading this book we were excited and had no idea the incredible reading experience that awaited for us. With a few sisters who mostly stick to thrillers and were a little hesitant at first as this was not their normal read we all dived in together and were immediately drawn into this family and story. 

I will not be able to beautifully put my thoughts together or write a review as beautiful as my Traveling Sisters have with their reviews but I am going to try by sharing from my heart how much this story touched us and how it made us feel. 

Sometimes a book hits in ways you don’t expect and everything becomes clear as to why you read and you seek book after book chasing that incredible feeling of finding that book that really spoke to you leaving you feeling so privileged to have read it. A Place For Us was that book for us. 

Fatima Farheen Mirza took us on an emotional journey like we have never experienced before and we really wished we could have been lost in a coulee for real reading this together and hiding from the demands of life to solely focus on this read and reading experience. We took our time and savored every word and moment of this beautiful and gracefully written story as well with our very meaningful discussion. Through this journey, we experienced so many emotions as we read and discussed this story together. 

Fatima Farheen Mirza does an amazing job of inviting us into the lives of this Muslim family and showing us their love, their struggle to find balance, their convictions, mistakes, their inner struggles and most of all, what they held dear to them as a family. We instantly connected with them and they became our family. They became us and we could see ourselves, our neighbors and our community in them. We could truly see the magic of Mirza’s talent and her ability to bring the private parts of this family to life not just by their struggles of each finding their place within their culture and religion but also with finding their place in this world. This allowed us to see the story on a more universal level that can be related to any family. 

So much emotional depth to this one and we dug deep into the layers and really took our time discussing this story. Our hearts were twisted, broken and we were in agony at times with our emotions. After finishing reading this story, some of us were left weeping and others speechless as we felt our hearts were ripped out from our chests. In the end, we all came together and shared our feelings towards this tender story that touched us in so many similar ways yet so differently at times.

For a short time, we found our place together reading this unforgettable story and it will always be a very special Sister Read for us all.

Thank you so much to NetGalley, Goodreads, Sarah Jessica Parker's new imprint SJP for Hogarth, Fatima Farheen Mirza, and Penguin Random House for bringing us all together for this Incredible Traveling Sister Read by providing us with the opportunity to read and review an advanced physical copy of this book.

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I received an advanced reader’s copy in exchange for an honest review. 

This was a verydifficult book to get through. I had to invest a lot of time with each of these characters and their family history, and feel all of their pain, before the story started to pay off. But I’m glad I stuck it out. Gut wrenching
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My reviews can be found at: https://yayareadslotsofbooks.wordpres...

"There were many ways of breaking a heart. Stories were full of hearts being broken by love, but what really broke a heart was taking away its dream-whatever that dream might be. (Pearl Buck)"

A family, a faith, a country, customs, and traditions all combine to make this book an outstanding piece of literature. This is a story that will break your heart so many times in so many ways. "I don't know why they call it heartbreak. It feels like every other part of my body is broken too."

A story begins, a wedding, and a new life start, and a tragic child grown to manhood suffers and a family that has been crippled comes to together and then breaks apart once again.

This is a tale of a family, a family that has been somewhat pitted against what their values and morals dictate according to their Muslim faith. It is an Indian Muslim family living in California and trying to reconcile their faith to the land where their place in this country conflicts often with what they hold most dear. There are three children in this family, Hadia, the oldest daughter, whose choices in life are limited to the possibility of an arranged marriage or to chose the profession of becoming a doctor, Huda, the younger sister who seems to follow always Hadia's lead, and Amar, the son, the youngest family member, whose life seems to be fraught with obstacles.

The parents Layla and Rafiq love their children, but it is their son whose life worries them so. Amar struggles. He struggles with school, with loving a girl who is declared to be not for him, and he struggles with the strictures of his father, his faith, and his life. He is the one who breaks his parents' hearts. He is the one who is most in need of love, of understanding, of assurances that all will be well and he is loved.

However, where he most seeks these assurances, those from a father he idolizes, a mother he implicitly trusts, he does not receive what he needs. His father holds a strict line, while his mother betrays him and he feels that he is useless and worthless. His father feels he is making his son, all his children, into strong adults who honor their faith and its customs. He does not speak the important words his son needs to hear. He lets distance and the outside world steal his son away and when he reflects on his life after a serious illness, all the thoughts he has are the ones he should have voiced ages ago.

This was such a sad tale. It made me think of the ways in which adherence to religious principles can often be an enormous almost insurmountable challenge for children. It made me think of words unspoken, of times when forgiveness is most needed, of experiences not shared. There are always the children who will adhere to the religious and community practices, but there are some who revolt and fall by the wayside floundering with their inability to accept and carry the burden what is being fostered upon them.

Thank you for Fatima Mirza, SJP for Hogarth, and NetGalley for providing this reader with an advanced copy of this most tender and poignant novel.
Thank you also to the Traveling Sisters group who read this book with me and added so much thought, introspection, and insights into this story. "Reading a good book is like taking a journey." We took a wonderful journey with this one dear sisters!
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A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza is a complex, intense and layered family drama full of emotional conflicts, everyday struggles and simple joys. An endearing and heartfelt saga that spans decades, it is bound to leave a mark on its readers. 

The story revolves around an Indian-American Muslim family trying to embrace their life in America along with preserving their culture, faith and traditions. 

You see, as an Indian Muslim living in the US for almost a decade now, and having faced some very similar struggles, my expectations of this book were set high when I read the blurb. I was curious as to how Fatima Farheen Mirza would portray those tiny battles, little conflicts and emotional dilemmas we go through on a daily basis. Would she be able to paint a picture that is close to reality? Will it be possible for her to spin a story and create characters that every reader would be able to relate to at some point? And most importantly will the story manage to stay with its readers? I needn't have worried about any of these because Mirza surely knows what she is doing, her storytelling is flawless.

With carefully constructed characters and a simple yet stunning prose, that at times feels almost poetic the author has woven a slow burning tale of love and heartbreak, faith and identity and of trying to fit in without having to let go of one's customs in a world where cultures collide.

It all begins with the wedding of Rafiq and Layla's eldest daughter Hadia. The younger sister Huda is helping the bride get ready, the parents are busy checking and rechecking the arrangements, but underneath all the celebratory hum is a quiet anguish and hidden joy. The wayward youngest son Amar has returned home for his sister's wedding. The son that ran away from home several years earlier is back and yet no one in the family has asked him anything. They are all just savoring his presence. What happened? 

The story gradually unfurls, by us getting glimpses into the memories of Hadia, Layla and Amar, as they reflect on the time that passed, major decisions, life's milestones, tiny stolen moments that finally led to this present day. These non-linear memories , these multitude of emotions, decisions, failures, regrets and the many intricacies of life is what makes up this story. 

Worth mentioning is the last few chapters which contains Rafiq's point of view and is possibly the most heart-wrenching portion of the book. To get to peek inside the heart of an extremely strict and seemingly unbendable father was certainly not what one would expect. These last few pages are profound and intimate that would certainly break your heart. And so will the ending.

A complex, diverse and character-oriented family saga, A Place for Us is a poignant story that will not disappoint. In every way a gem of a debut and highly recommended.
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Family sagas are definitely my jam, and this novel was no exception. I enjoyed the structure of the book, working backwards from the arrival of estranged son Amar at the daughter Hadia's wedding. Immediately we know that something is amiss and are not given the answers as Mirza quickly brings us back in time to the beginnings of their family, their parents marriage, and examines the childhood of the three siblings. I felt invested in the characters right away, as they struggled with universal experiences of childhood - most notably: first love. Learning about different cultures also makes a novel compelling for me, especially in the ways it affects the family dynamic. There is a lot to unpack about gender roles, religion, habit and individuality. 

"Maybe it was the exceptions that we made for one another that brought God more pride than we we stood firm, maybe His heart opened when His creations opened their hearts to one another..."

The second part of the book brings us back to the wedding when all of the family secrets come out and it plays out in excruciatingly dramatic fashion. I turned the pages furiously, hoping the characters I had become invested in had some closure or perchance a happy ending or two. 

"And remember that any time you point your finger to accuse someone, there are three fingers beneath it, curled to point right back at you."

In the last section, we are given the Rafiq's, the father's, story as he reflects on the entire history of his family from his devastating point of view.  Mirza's writing is simple and beautiful, evocative of first loves, unrequited love, familial and, in the end, excruciating parental love. If you enjoyed Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng, I would HIGHLY recommend this book. There are so many similarities, and the common thread of a minority family struggling with the love they have for each other, their culture, and trying to do right by one another. Sometimes their actions end in happiness, and other times it ends in tragedy, as in life.
Many thanks to Hogharth books and NetGalley for the free advance digital copy for my review!
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Mary Beth *Traveling Sister*'s review Jun 12, 2018  ·  edit
it was amazing

So Beautiful, Emotional and Moving!

I was immediately drawn into the story due to the beautiful writing. I love how Sarah Jessica Parker described the writing on the very first page of the book, "Told with a delicacy as though every sentence is spun from glass. I just had to savor each sentence and it flowed so well. 

This book is so different than I usually read. I have to have a lot of suspense while reading a book. At least that's what I thought until I read this one. It did have some suspense, that kept me turning the pages, to find out what happened to Amar.
I loved this beautiful emotional book that really moved me. It made me feel. I love a book that makes me feel. That's why I love Goodreads because I would of never of picked this book up. It was all the glowing reviews, that had me picking this one up. I would of really of missed out if I didn't read it. 

I loved the characters! I felt this was a character driven novel. 
Hadia is strong willed and is very helpful with her brothers and sisters and is very hard working. I really loved her.

Amar is the main character and he has lots of troubles. He is quiet, sensitive and kind. He doesn't seem to fit in with his family very well, and his sister's leave him out of games. He seemed to struggle with their customs and religion beliefs. He doesn't take criticism very well. He doesn't try at all if he doesn't want to. But if he thinks he can do something well or if he wants to he does. I felt so sorry for Amar, my heart went out to him. His family was so strict. 

Layla is the mother, and she tries to keep the peace in the family. She seemed to favor Amar more than the other children. 

Rafiq, was their Baba, (father) who was very strict with his family, making sure they followed their religious beliefs and culture. He would not let his children to to parties, or friends houses. He did have a big heart. 

I really didn't get to know Huda very well but the book mainly focuses on Amar, and he is closer to Hadia. These characters will break your heart. 

This is a tender hearted sort of a Muslim Indian American family caught between cultures and a deeply moving story of identity and belonging. It deals with the pleasures and pains of family life including love, faith, betrayal and forgiveness.

I think this book will move you as well as it moved me. 

This was a Traveling Sister read and I think it moved all of us. It was a fantastic reading experience.

I want to thank Penguin Random House, and Fatima Farheen Mirtza and Netgalley for the physical copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.
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"Maybe it was the exceptions we made for one another that brought God more pride than when we stood firm, maybe His heart opened when His creations opened their hearts to one another"

This book both filled my heart and broke it into a hundred pieces.

Why is it always the hardest to talk about the books that we love the most? Because that's what this one has become, a new favorite. While I wade through this heap of emotions this story left me with, I'll attempt a very brief synopsis. Spanning decades, A Place for Us follows one Indian-American Muslim family living in California, the parents having moved there from Hyderabad after their wedding of their arranged marriage. Using multiple perspectives and flashbacks you get the story of their complex and conservative Muslim family. Opening on the wedding day of eldest daughter Hadia you realize that the family has been divided and seeing each other again for the first time due to the wedding. I will leave it at just those couple sentences because the storytelling itself is what makes this book so uniquely beautiful. 

I felt early on that this one was going to be a hit for me, it using many of my favorite devices for storytelling and exploring many of my favorite themes. That said, this went above and beyond my expectations. The narrative floats forward and backward through time perfectly mirroring the reminiscing minds of the characters. What starts as a single thread slowly unwinds to reveal the whole tapestry, each additional thread giving you the missing perspective of a different family member and giving a whole new light to their life. This method of writing illustrated beautifully how small decisions can shape the future and how prone we can be as families to misunderstand and wound those closest to us. A tragic look at pride, belonging and growth. I started to miss the characters as soon as I put it down. So thankful for the chance to pick this one up and fall in love with this family, I surely won't be forgetting them. I have already recommended this book to many people!
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5 Beautiful Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

This was more than just a book it was an experience... I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to read this with a group of my fellow reviewers and friends the “Traveling Sisters”... we have read and love many books together, but this was hands-down the best discussion we have ever had... each of these amazing ladies brought their own life experiences to the discussion  and it touched each and every one of us in an  unique and special way.... this is a book that will stay close to our hearts and never be forgotten by any of us!

The story of a Muslim Indian American family, that really could be any family...Told non-linearly, The author wove  pieces of the present and the past together seamlessly... creating an amazing story.... A story that was above all else about love....

The family in this book faced challenges that many families do, some a little more challenging because of their strict religious beliefs... this book really emphasize the similarities between people rather than the differences... it touched on the power of words both said and not.... The desire to belong and be accepted.... the need for forgiveness both of others and yourself... it was a book filled with struggle, compassion, determination, and love.... The characters in this book evoked strong feelings in me from sorrow, to elation, to frustration, and more....

My words definitely cannot do this book justice...I strongly encourage you to read this book! just make sure you have tissue handy!

*** many thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book ***
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This is the only time I can ever remember feeling like there’s something wrong with me for not loving a book. Though it’s only being published today, A Place for Us is already near-universally adored, and it sounded like a book that was right up my alley: a sprawling portrait of a dysfunctional family is the blueprint for so many of my favorite books and I didn’t see any reason for A Place for Us to be an exception.

And it’s undeniably a beautiful novel. It follows an Indian-American Muslim family living in California, who are gathered at the beginning of the novel for their eldest daughter Hadia’s wedding. We find out that the entire family is estranged from their only son, Amar, and the rest of the novel explores the factors that led to this fracturing. The prose style is simple and elegant, and the nonlinear chronology is handled deftly, constructing a portrait of this family that comes together seamlessly by the end.

Others have described this book as heart-wrenching and moving, and I see where it should have been both of those things. But the whole time I was reading I felt like there was a veil between me and these characters, who all felt to me more like constructs than real human beings. A Place for Us hits all the beats you’d expect it to from the very first page. This is a story that’s so simple, so unsurprising, that it entirely hinges on its readers’ emotional investment for there to be any payoff. And I hate to say it, but these characters just weren’t interesting to me. Each of their trajectories practically wrote itself, and I started to find it tedious that such straightforward ideas were being communicated in such a circuitous manner. We could have easily shaved off 100 pages and essentially been left with the exact same book.

But it’s worth reiterating that I’m in the minority, and it’s a sort of disorienting feeling to be left cold by a book which promises emotional resonance above all else. I’m glad that others have been able to connect with this book in a way that I did not. But if you’re looking for a heartbreaking family saga, I would personally recommend Pachinko or East of Eden or Everything I Never Told You over A Place for Us in a heartbeat.
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A Place for Us is one of the most beautiful and resonant novels I’ve read. The story of an Indian-American Muslim family living in California, it explores many different facets of their lives: the immigrant story, their deep faith, family relationships, the intricacies of arranged marriage, and the children of immigrants coming into their own.

The story begins as the family gathers for the wedding of Hadia, the family’s eldest daughter. The family is overjoyed not only at the occasion of Hadia’s marriage to Tariq, but also that the youngest son Amar has returned after a long estrangement.

Told in alternating points of view, we hear the family’s story from their parents’ beginnings in India through present day through the eyes of eldest daughter Hadia, matriarch Layla, struggling youngest Amar, and finally from patriarch Rafiq.

Hadia is a typical eldest daughter, striving to be perfect and follow the rules. She is smart and does exceptionally well in school. She loves her younger siblings, but we see some strain and bitterness toward her younger brother and both his defiant attitude and her parents’ perceived coddling of him.

Amar is a spirited young boy, a typical youngest child: testing boundaries and challenging authority. His family’s faith has never fit him well and he continually butts heads with his equally strong-willed father. His parents try desperately to do what is right for him, and to reach him with their love, but neither they nor he know how to bridge the gap that separates them.

Layla came to America following her arranged marriage to Rafiq. She loves her children, and loses herself in her role as mother and wife. Although she follows the strict dictates of her faith, she is a strong woman doing her best to raise her children well.

The story is rich and varied, and shows not only the depth of the family’s faith, but also that some struggles are common no matter a family’s background. Layla and Rafiq differ on how to handle young, challenging Amar, and their differences and resentments follow them until his adulthood.

This was one of my favorite reads of the year. I longed to savor this novel in all its beauty and heartbreak. It was beautifully and lovingly written, and I look forward to seeing more from Fatima Farheen Mirza
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Rafiq and Layla want their children to honor the traditions of their own upbringings in India. That means arranged marriages, traditional gender roles, and preserving their image in the community. Rafiq is proud, harsh, and detached, and Layla, strong but silent, chooses to keep the peace rather than challenge him. Their three children are American born and raised and have their own expectations for life, but neither Rafiq nor Layla is willing to recognize the difference between themselves and their children. Hadia is the perfect, dependable older sister. Huda is the middle sister—religious and independent. Amar is their younger brother—bright and sensitive but always in trouble. While the family is tight-knit, the house is often a quiet, tense place, and the relationships and interactions are often toxic.

The novel opens at Hadia’s wedding, where she is (surprisingly) marrying a partner of her own choice. Amar’s presence at the wedding is the source of serious tension; he has been estranged from the family, and the wedding is the first time they have seen him in years.

The story is divided into four parts. Parts one and three occur at the wedding, and part two is the story of how they got there. It has snippets from as early as Layla’s childhood and as late as Hadia’s relationship with Tareq (her husband). The fourth part of the novel circles back around to focus on one character—I’d rather not say who. But I will say that toward the end of part three, I felt confused about where the book could possibly go next, and I was anxious about the ending of a book that was thus far a five-star read and one of my favorite of the year (and possibly ever). As soon as the part opened, and I understood where Mirza was leading us, I felt both relief and an even deeper appreciation for this story.

It’s a story that I didn’t know I needed. It speaks so clearly to how hard it is be to a member of a family. How fiercely we can love one another and quietly destroy each other at the same time.

This book got me thinking not only about my own childhood and my parents, but also about how I’m parenting my children. In most families, each person wants to do what’s right, but they don’t always know what that is, and they can’t always reconcile what’s right for them with what’s right for the other members of their family. Expectations complicate simple decisions, and love masks selfishness. 

The writing is exquisite: even in the nonlinear second section, Mirza fluidly moves the reader from scene to scene, future to present to past to future again with minimal cues. I was never confused about the time or place of a scene in that section. Her writing simply doesn’t feel written: you are that submerged into the story.

While the novel is entirely in the third person, I was able to get inside most of the different characters’ heads really well, including many of the supporting characters. The one exception to this is what I see as this novel’s one flaw—why wasn’t poor Huda more fully developed? I would have said that she’s the token religious figure in the story, except that Layla is also religious. I would have appreciated another one hundred pages of novel in service of Huda’s character development.

A Place for Us lends itself well to analysis—the characters are complex and complicated, the details are beautifully intentional (the names!!!), and the structure of the novel, including the nonlinear second section, is well-worth picking apart.

It’s also a fabulous pick for book clubs because there are both a plethora of character decisions and controversial issues to discuss. Some of the issues are immigration, assimilation, generational differences, love, careers, sibling relationships, the culture of Muslim communities in the US, religious difference, and gender equality.

Heartbreaking and thoughtful, A Place for Us is infused with grief, and yet at its surface it’s a novel about love: family love and romantic love. The overall effect is the point of the book: We all love the best way we know how, even when it’s not enough.
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What I Loved:

Every momentous event and every miniscule action has a consequence—and you never know which ones will haunt you for the rest of your life. A Place for Us is a deeply moving chronicle of the life of a family, the big and the small events that shape their lives.

I love the deep, multi-faceted perspectives that the author, Fatima Farheen Mirza, unveils throughout the novel. The same event replays multiple times giving readers access into the emotions and thoughts of each character. As a parent, it's simply terrifying to see other parents' decisions play out over the course of years; but it also encourages me to champion grace in my family, and for myself, as I seek to love and serve them.

My favorite part of the novel is the last fourth, told by the father, Rafiq, to his son, Amar. Mirza's writing is impeccable as she retraces this man's faults and weaknesses along with his unspoken love and honorable intentions toward his son. My heart broke and my eyes filled with tears throughout the conclusion of this amazing story.

Mirza reminds her readers that family life is complex. Each person lives and loves in their own way; sometimes it's seen and received—other times, the expression of love feels like scorn and rejection. Sometimes duty trumps love and affection. Sometimes feelings override the truth. There is simply so much that can go wrong, be misunderstood, and tossed aside.

What I Didn't Like:

Honestly, there's not much to dislike about A Place for Us. My only hesitation in giving this book five stars is the slow start; the first third unfolds steadily and surely as it sets the groundwork for the rest of the novel.

For readers unaccustomed to literary fiction or those that enjoy more fast-paced, action-oriented stories, A Place for Us could end up on their DNF ("did not finish") shelf. However, I think the snail-like pace of the beginning is absolutely essential for the rest of the book. My advice, if you make it through the first one-third of the book, just keep going—everything is worth it in the end!

Recommended for:

A Place for Us is thoughtful, sincere, and heart-wrenching—everything a dramatic family story should be. It reflects the push and pull, give and take, of familial love and expectations. A Place for Us also shines a light on the complexities of life as an Indian American Muslim family. In many ways, Mirza's storytelling reminds me of Celeste Ng; they both harness the ability to weave compelling family stories around cultural norms and expectations and the divisions they threaten to create.

For these reasons, I highly recommend this book for lovers of literary fiction, family dramas, and those looking to diversify their reading experience.

(This review will be posted to my blog on the publication date: June 12, 2018.)
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Long, intense, at times on the slow and repetitive side, and yet this debut delivers a grave and beautiful punch. It deftly combines the specialness of a Muslim family and its culture with the commmon and recognizable features of a regular family anatomization. Best of all it’s done with a profound simplicity that touches the heart. Impressive work.
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As a long time fan of Sarah Jessica Parker’s book recommendations (her Instagram has put me onto fantastic reads including The Nix by Nathan Hill and No One Is Coming to Save Us by Stephanie Powell Watts) I have been incredibly excited for this release. A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza is a debut novel, and the first release of SJP for Hogarth.

This story follows the lives of an Indian-American Muslim family, and the story opens on the eve of the wedding of the eldest daughter, Hadia. After weaving in and out of the childhood of Hadia and her younger siblings Huda and Amar, and their parents Layla and Rafiq, we come full circle and return to the day of the wedding later in the novel. I loved this plot structure and thought it was extremely effective in bringing the reader up to speed with the context and nuances that may have been missed in that initial scene. I found the changing timelines and switches between point of view character a little confusing to begin with, but soon settled into the flow and found it gave a well-rounded perspective of the family dynamics. With the exception of Huda, I felt that we really got to feel a sense of each character’s perspective. Given the direction the plot takes, I think this was critical to evoking as much of an emotional response as it did.

In terms of a multi-generational glimpse into a family, I have not seen this so deftly handled in fiction since Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko. What immediately captured me with this book was the portrayal of the everyday interactions between the characters, but before long it became obvious that it was the broader themes of belonging and place that I felt the reader drawn to connect with. So many of the relationships in this book, both familial and romantic, connect with these themes and tug at the heart strings, below is one example that I found to be such a perfect example of this:

Loving [name omitted to avoid spoilers] was not just loving a young woman. It was loving a whole world – a world changed by her presence, enlarged by her perception. She was of the same world he had been born into but had only ever felt himself outside of, waiting to be invited in. Sitting by her was the closest he came to feeling harmony with his own home. 

I found this a really powerful book and cannot wait to see the discussions it evokes in readers – I think this would make for a perfect book-club book for that reason.

Thanks to NetGalley and SJP for Hogarth for providing me a review copy in exchange for an honest review.
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A Place for Us is the story of a Muslim American family navigating the intersections of faith, personal desires, and their relationships with each other. The novel starts at oldest sister Hadia's wedding as we are introduced to the main characters, seeing the event from their different viewpoints. The way they interact implies strained relationships and dramatic past events. Since we aren't given any explanation right away, this creates almost a mystery feel to the story, intriguing the reader - we want to learn more! The story then moves back in time, as we get snippets of the past from the perspectives of Hadia, the oldest sister, Amar, her brother, and Layla, the mother. These snippets are not in chronological order, however, and again we are introduced to personal dynamics and the aftermath of important situations without being given, initially, the entire context. Rather than be confusing, I found this narrative structure to be very successful at creating a good deal of interest and tension; it really drew me in and made me want to read on to learn the whole story. However, for me, the book faltered a bit in the last section. We get to see the events from a new perspective, though, because we already know at that point what happens and why, the length of this section does not seem necessary and, to me, caused the last 20% of the book to drag a bit. I think this could have been edited down without losing any meaning or emotional impact. Despite this small flaw, A Place of Us is a strong debut and definitely worth checking out.
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This is one of those books that grabs your heart – and squeezes. It is a very personal look at the relationships and faith, love and alienation, of one Indian-American family. At the same time, it also speaks to universal truths and themes including, as the title implies, finding our own place.

The story unfolds over decades as it jumps back and forth through time. As it does, it is told from the very different perspectives of the parents, one of their daughters, Haida, and their son, Amar.

Overall, this was a beautifully written novel. It's pace, which at times is slow, encourages it to be savored. So striking were the insights that, at one point, I found myself bookmarking nearly every page.

I had been alerted to, and was prepared for, an emotional conclusion. It’s been a while since a book has moved me to tears and this one did.  But the tears were not due to sadness but of incredible hope.
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The best part of this book is the writing. Lyrical,  educational, quite beautiful really. However,  the pace is slow, and the actual story is told in a disjointed way. There are continual flashbacks, without a compass point. I put it down multiple times and didn't feel an urge to get back to it. If you're looking for a slow read, this is your book. I received an advance copy for my review from NetGalley
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Wonderful, moving story of an American family. The story takes place over 30+ years as the Muslim Indian family struggle with maintaining their beliefs and customs in an ever changing social climate. A Place For Us is an emotional, beautifully written first novel by Fatima Farheen Mirza.. This story, this family is one I will be thinking about for a very long time.
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expected to be a hit when it reaches its release date - and deservedly so. highly recommended....add to your book list
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This was an engrossing multigenerational saga of conflicting values within 2 Muslim families integrated in neighboring communities over the course of several decades. Told from alternating viewpoints of parents and children. Excellent debut for Sarah Jessica Parker’s imprint. Thanks for the NetGalley preview,
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