Cover Image: Sirens of Memory

Sirens of Memory

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Member Reviews

This story is just one of many that have suffered from abuse and stalking. I enjoyed the historical aspect of following Miriam's life while in Kuwait, but it was her struggle of accepting that the abuse she had faced was not her fault that really got to me. 

Coming from someone who also has suffered abuse and stalking, this story spoke to me and I felt it in my heart. 

Emotional, superb writing, truthful story.
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Sirens of Memory by Puja Guha was a very harrowing physiological thriller/crime book that explored domestic violence and abuse in an arranged marriage in Kuwait. It was a very gripping, complex and moving story. I listened to the audiobook that was narrated wonderfully by Samira Amani. It was quite tense at times but also very touching at other times. I could not pull myself away. I was drawn in immediately and listened anxiously as the story unfolded.

Mariam was a young, naive nineteen year old woman when her father married her off in an arranged marriage. Her mother had died and her father lacked concern or interest in her. Mariam learned very quickly that her new husband, Tareq, had a temper and was extremely controlling. Tareq often physically, mentally and verbally abused Mariam. She was afraid of Tareq and tried hard to stay out of his way and to say what he wanted to hear. Tareq had no shame in what he did to Mariam. Finally, Mariam was not able to stand another minute in her abusive marriage. Her family had turned their backs on her so Mariam ran to her cousin’s home to escape Tareq. Unfortunately, Tareq discovered where she was and came and attacked her with such rage and violence that an ambulance had to be called. In the hospital, Miriam discovered that she was pregnant. Mariam knew that there was no way that she would ever go back to Tareq now. At that time, Iraq had invaded Kuwait and the Iraqi soldiers were going door to door and arresting and killing the people of Kuwait. Mariam, her cousin, Dinah and her maid managed to escape to a refugee camp. It was in the refugee camp that Mariam met Raj. Mariam and Raj grew close and fell in love. When Raj discovered that his wife of one week had been killed by the Iraqi soldiers he offered Mariam her identity. Mariam and Raj got married and moved to the United States. After moving around to various cities they finally settled in Austin, Texas. Twenty-five years later, Mariam still suffered from PTSD and from the trauma of victimization. She was seeing a therapist and making some progress in learning how to let go of her past and reject “victim hood”. Then a visit, a celebration and an introduction opened a door to what Mariam had dreaded most her whole life.

I really enjoyed listening to the audiobook of Sirens of Memory by Puja Guha. This was the first book that I have read by Puja Guha but it will not be my last. I have a close friend that used to provide shelter to battered and abused women in a woman’s shelter. I always admired my friend for all she and her organization did for these women. No woman should ever feel like they have to stay in an abused marriage or relationship. I admired Mariam’s character. Abused women often feel like they provoked the abuse. Although Mariam wrestled with her decision to leave Tareq and questioned whether she was strong enough to escape his abuse she knew she had to for the sake of her unborn child. Mariam was always looking over her shoulder afraid that Tareq would appear.  She had a very hard time putting her past behind her. Her years of therapy finally made her realize that she was no longer a victim and that she was stronger than she thought. Sirens of Memory was a story of survival. It was well written and the chapters alternated between past and present. I recommend this book very highly.

Thank you to Dreamscape Media for allowing me to listen to the audiobook of Sirens of Memory through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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Set in Kuwait in 1990, nineteen-year-old Miriam becomes pregnant by her physically, sexually and emotionally abusive husband. The only way to save herself and her unborn child is to escape. While escaping Miriam meets Raj, who becomes her new husband, at an Indian Refugee camp before they head to America. The story is told in dueling timelines that go back and forth between Kuwait 1990 and Austin, Texas 2015.

It was so interesting to learn a little bit more and get an inside look at the Gulf War. Miriam is a strong character that will do just about anything to make sure her and her family is safe. Sirens of Memory is a powerful read that tackles many different issues stemming from a country that doesn’t respect women’s rights. I couldn’t put this one down as it was fast-paced and had so much action within it that it kept my attention for hours at a time. This is a story of determination, survival and learning not to be a victim.
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4.5 stars
Wow, right out of the gate we get into some heavy topics in this book as stated in the synopsis. We meet young Mariam  in Kuwait before the Gulf War and in an all around abusive marriage with her husband, Tareq. Guha almost does too good of a job immersing the reader into Mariam’s life because I definitely felt the fear, anxiety and feeling of walking on eggshells Mariam was going through. We do get to experience happy moments as well as we cut back and forth between two timelines. One where she is in Kuwait in the 90’s and one where 25 years have passed since her escape when the Afghan invasion occurred. Married and living a new life, we walk through the process of healing from trauma, ptsd and self healing with Mariam as she is forced to reconcile with the past and all that she has been through.
Trigger Warnings for domestic violence and sexual assault
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Physical abuse is a tricky thing. It has personally haunted me for years. It rears it head like a talisman, reminding me of my failures and insecurities. It’s never easy to explain because it’s so crazy when it happens. 
Sirens of Memory was like that. Abuse even once is to much but when you feel trapped it’s a very fearful lifestyle. Told in dual timelines this will take you on a journey of war, abuse and how a person begins to deal with it. The story made me mad and there is definitely a trigger warning here. But I identified with this story and thought it was told well. 
It’s a realistic view of what many people are facing and I’m glad it was shared. We do not have to be victims anymore. 👋🎤
I chose to listen to this book on audio and the narrator was good. This audiobook is 7 hours and 45 minutes. 
Thanks Dreamscape Media via Netgalley.
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4.5 stars

This was an interesting and reasonably suspenseful story. I enjoyed most of the plot and major characters, and it wasn’t a difficult one to get lost in for a little while. The ending, especially part of the epilogue, almost felt like some of the details were wrapped up a bit too perfectly and easily, but that didn’t take away too much from the effectiveness of the story for me, and I’m still happy about my overall experience with it.
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Thank you Net Galley for an audio copy of Sirens of Memory by Puja Guha.  What a profound book.   I could relate to the fear from abuse.   The author really wrote this well.
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I requested this one because it might be a 2021 title I would like to review on my Youtube Channel. However, after reading the first several chapters I have determined that this book does not suit my tastes. So I decided to DNF this one rather than push myself to finish the digital copy on my phone only to give it a poor review.
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