In her heartfelt and elegantly written debut of a beautiful, struggling family, it’s clear that Fatima Farheen Mirza is a gifted writer. She is more than able to make you feel every character’s emotions, while offering compassion for different views, gradually revealing different aspects of each story to create a multilayered tapestry.
A Place For Us begins at Hadia’s wedding in California, where the family gathers to celebrate a marriage based on love, rather than one that was arranged. Huda, the middle child, is determined to be like her sister more and more, headstrong and bold. Lastly, Amar, Hadia’s younger brother who ran away three years earlier, has returned for the celebration, taking his place as the brother of the bride. What follows is a compelling and stunning story of how the family splintered apart, the secrets each of them carry, and maybe, how to find your way home.
It’s easy to see how the family could fracture, each person trying to find the place they belong both within the family unit, and outside of it, searching for social acceptance and individual happiness, while grappling with family expectations and religious beliefs. And, like any family, there are heavy challenges. The family often acts and reacts towards each other based on assumptions, always wanting the best, but not always with the best results. It’s clear that they have so much love for each other, but love doesn’t always come without pain and disappointment.
Mirza has created a rich and engaging story of today, bringing together the past and the present. We see how an Indian Muslim family might feel conflicted with the traditions of faith from prior generations, and the current American culture the children are accustomed to, having grown up a part of that climate. This story is incredibly moving, both authentic and relevant for today’s society, where it can still be so difficult to look, act, and dress different, while still trying to fit in. Beautifully written, emotionally powerful, and deeply compelling, A Place For Us is the first book to be published by Sarah Jessica Parker‘s new imprint SJP for Hogarth, and is set to be the knockout novel of the year.
A Place For Us is now available for purchase.