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Saffron Dreams [Kindle Edition]

Shaila Abdullah
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $19.95
Kindle Price: $4.99
You Save: $14.96 (75%)

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Book Description

Saffron Dreams is a tale of love, tragedy, and redemption from the award-winning author of Beyond the Cayenne Wall.

You don't know you're a misfit until you are marked as an outcast.

From the darkest hour of American history emerges a mesmerizing tale of tender love, a life interrupted, and faith recovered. Arissa Illahi, a Muslim artist and writer, discovers in a single moment that no matter how carefully you map your life, it is life itself that chooses your destiny. After her husband's death in the collapse of the World Trade Center, the discovery of his manuscript marks Arissa's reconnection to life. Her unborn son and the unfinished novel fuse in her mind into one life-defining project that becomes, at once, the struggle for her emotional survival and the redemption of her race. Saffron Dreams is a novel about our ever evolving identities and the events and places that shape them. It reminds us that in the midst of tragedy, our dreams can become a lasting legacy.

EDITORIAL REVIEWS

"In this insightful, intimate narrative, Pakistani-born Arissa Illahi moves to New York City to be with her husband, who had taken a job at the World Trade Center's Windows on the World restaurant to allow time for completing his novel. He perishes when the towers collapse, and Arissa nearly crumples herself as she struggles with tremendous grief, a troublesome pregnancy, and the various trials she faces as a Muslim when others ignorantly associate her with the terrorists. Abdullah excels at examining the complexity of moving on after this historical event, especially from Arissa's unique perspective as a writer and artist struggling to rear a child with special needs. But this debut novel deals with more than just survival in the aftermath of 9/11, also examining the nature of motherhood by juxtaposing Arissa's supportive mother-in-law and less than maternal mother. Like Abdullah's story collection, Beyond the Cayenne Wall, this work provides a remarkable, inevitably hopeful glimpse into the daily life of Muslim woman living in America. Highly recommended."


Editorial Reviews

Review

"Like Abdullah's story collection, Beyond the Cayenne Wall, this work provides a remarkable, inevitably hopeful glimpse into the daily life of Muslim woman living in America. Highly recommended."
--Library Journal

"As I read some of the bleakest parts of the novel, I was unable to remain dry-eyed and chances are it will have the same impact on many other readers, which in itself speaks volumes of its success." --Dawn Newspaper

Product Details

  • File Size: 493 KB
  • Print Length: 232 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Modern History Press; 1 edition (January 12, 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0028Y4M5U
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #566,089 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exquisite! February 1, 2009
Format:Hardcover
Exquisite. That best describes the book, SAFFRON DREAMS. The story is from a woman's perspective with true pain, ambition, desperation, duty, and love all mixed together.

Arissa Illahi is a Pakistani-Muslim artist and writer whose childhood was spent in an affluent family in New York City. Her mother is overly flirtatious with her uncle and her parents eventually split. She meets an interesting man who she would like to meet again and regretfully, doesn't until her parents contact a matchmaker and show her the pictures of prospective husbands. There he is and their life together begins.

All is not perfect as they do have the everyday problems and challenges of being overly educated and not being able to find profitable careers to match. Her husband works as a waiter in one of buildings that are part of the World Trade Center. In his free time, he is writing his first novel, which he hopes, will allow him to become a full-time author.

Arissa discovers that she is pregnant and her life changes. Her husband was working on the morning of 9/11 and he did not escape the tragedy that occurred. Arissa has to deal with his death, being pregnant, finding a job to support the baby and herself, and also, how to be a Muslim in New York City at this time. To add to this challenge, she discovers that her child will be handicapped; it is just not known yet to what degree.

SAFFRON DREAMS possesses a strength of dreaming, reality, and a personal voice in literature. You truly feel you are Arissa as her life continues daily. She wants to be a good mother, continue her faith, rely on her family, and also to fulfill her husband's wishes of completing his novel. There just isn't always enough time for everything.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Written 9/11 Story of Muslim Widow February 2, 2009
Format:Paperback
Shaila Abdullah's "Saffron Dreams" is a moving, sensitive and eye-opening novel about Arissa Ilahi, a young Pakistani woman living in New York City, who loses her husband in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Towers. While the novel has scenes in Pakistan prior to the 9/11 attacks, the focus of the novel is Arissa grieving for her lost husband, Faizan, her efforts to get her life back together in a country whose people are becoming intolerant and prejudiced against Muslims, and being a single mother to a newborn son with multiple disabilities. Along the way, Arissa learns to find support in loved ones, especially her in-laws, and to sever dysfunctional relationships, even with family members. Despite many difficult decisions she must make for the independence of herself and her son, Arissa remains strong and hopeful.

The September 11th attacks are wounds still healing in the United States. Readers of "Saffron Dreams" will better understand the grief experienced by those who lost loved ones during that critical time. The novel also offers insights into Islamic, particularly Pakistani, culture and the difficulties faced by immigrants to the United States in their efforts to assimilate yet retain parts of their culture. As Arissa notes in the novel, immigrants come to love both lands as their own.

"Saffron Dreams" is as American a novel as any written because the immigrant experience is an integral part of the American story. The novel is part of Modern History Press's "Reflections of America" series, and its young female Pakistani narrator provides a unique perspective on how Americans are still trying to cope with and interpret the events of September 11th and the wars that have followed.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A much-needed perspective January 23, 2009
Format:Hardcover
We have read numerous stories in the mainstream media about the widows of 9/11. Not so many about the Muslim victims. In her novel "Saffron Dreams," Shaila Abdullah fills a void in that literature by providing the perspective of a pregnant Pakistani woman who loses her husband--a writer with a masters in literature who worked as a waiter in the Windows on the World restaurant--on September 11. Inspired by the true story of Baraheen Ashrafi, a Bangladeshi woman who was widowed two days before the birth of her second child, Abdullah's novel follows her main character on her journey through the five stages of grief as she reconstructs her life in a worldthat views her as a perpetrator of the violence, not as a victim.

Intertwined with flashbacks to Arissa's childhood in Pakistan, this novel provides a valuable insight into secular, upper middle class Pakistani society. A much-needed perspective in the void of the American Muslim experience, this is an unflinching look at the societal pressures of widowhood, the role that art can play in the healing process, and the impact of media bias and stereotyping on the Muslim American community in the aftermath of the 2001 terrorist attacks.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's OK, But Didn't Have Me Awed October 16, 2009
Format:Paperback
This is about widowhood. It reminded me somewhat of The Pilot's Wife minus the mystery. It is a book basically that goes on and on about a woman's grief. Whereas, I sympathize with Arissa, I felt the story could have used more details regarding her "malfunctioning" son and the stress of raising such a child by oneself and less of the mourning stuff.

Arissa has lost her husband in the Trade Towers collapse. She is five months pregnant. Forty One days later, she finds out that the child she is carrying has a cleft lip, malformed kidneys, bad urinary tract, and much more. (Upon birth, he is also half blind and deaf.)She carries the child to term, struggles as a single mom, faces predijice due to her veil and tosses it in the wind, attempts another relationship, and completes her dead husband's book.

My issue is the jumping back and forth. In one paragraph, Arissa is 5 months pregnant and taking vicodin. (Funny, she never once stops and asks herself if her usage of both vicodin and valium while pregnant has caused her child's retardation! Another issue for me.) The next paragraph, her and the husband are making love or having a fight. The third paragraph may go back ten years and be about her mother abandoning her.

Didn't work for me, but I can see it hitting Oprah's book list.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars This is one of the most beautifully written stories I have ever read.
Shaila Abdullah’s words, phrases, are shear poetry. Through your descriptive words, I have a deeper appreciation of the pain inflicted on all of our citizens, including Muslim... Read more
Published 19 days ago by Mary Jane Forbes
5.0 out of 5 stars A fabulous story
I was captured by the humanity of this young woman from the start. The story broke my heart, thrilled me, excited me and made me connect with her and her child. Read this book!!!
Published 11 months ago by Nina Baker
1.0 out of 5 stars Did not like
Could not get into this book at all. Tried to read a couple of times. I don't know what it was but I will not read the remainder
Published 12 months ago by gina holmes
3.0 out of 5 stars safron dreams
it was all right & fairly interesting. delved into culture quite deeply. didn't appeal to my tastes, but well written.
Published 12 months ago by Karen Timreck
1.0 out of 5 stars Saffrron Dreams Academic Edition
The delivery was quick and before the time indicated. I bought this book to read for my local book club. I have not read it at this time, but I hope that it will be interesting.
Published 13 months ago by Lee Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring
I was surprised by how much I liked this book. It opened my eyes to the prejudice against Muslims and how wrong it is. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Edgar R.
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Prose
Saffron Dreams had been on my to-read list , and somehow, coincidentally I managed to get to it on September 11. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Lara Zuberi
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth the read
I felt like I was part of the family - I cared about all of these characters. My experience has been one of every dozen books or so that I read is truly satisfying. Read more
Published 18 months ago by feldest
5.0 out of 5 stars A mesmerizing story!
Saffron Dreams is a mesmerizing story about an amazing woman, Arissa, a Pakistani woman who's life is turned upside down in a split second. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Melissa Moreno
4.0 out of 5 stars Great point of view!
9/11. I remember it well.

We've heard all of the stories. Friend. Family. Co-workers. Children. Police. Fire Fighters. EMT. Other rescue units. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Chrystal Mahan
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More About the Author

Noted as "Word Artist" by critics, Shaila Abdullah is an award-winning author and designer based in Austin, Texas. Her creative work focuses on the strengths and weaknesses of Pakistani women and their often unconventional choices in life. Abdullah's 2009 novel, Saffron Dreams is taught at several universities and explores the tragedy of 9/11 from the perspective of a Muslim widow. She received a grant from Hobson Foundation for that body of work. Her debut book, Beyond the Cayenne Wall, is a collection of stories about Pakistani women struggling to find their individualities despite the barriers imposed by society. The author has received several awards for her work including the Golden Quill Award, Norumbega Jury Prize for Outstanding Fiction, DIY Award, Reader Views Award, Written Art Award, and a grant from Hobson Foundation. For more information about the author and to sign up for news and updates, please visit www.shailaabdullah.com.


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