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In the Language of Miracles: A Novel Paperback – July 26, 2016
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
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“Assured and beautifully crafted. . . . Hassib is a natural, graceful writer with a keen eye for cultural difference. . . . [She] handles the anatomy of grief with great delicacy. . . . In the Language of Miracles should find a large and eager readership. For the beauty of the writing alone, Hassib deserves it.”
—Monica Ali, The New York Times Book Review
“This powerful and moving story wrestles with family, tradition, mental illness, grief, love, shame and the realities of being a Muslim in America post 9/11. . . . Hassib’s characters live and breathe with an honesty and vulnerability that makes them unforgettable.”
“A riveting and important book. It drives home the fact that no matter what religion we practice or country we are from, we are more alike than we think. [In the Language of Miracles] narrows the gap between us and may make us a bit more tolerant, understanding, and accepting.”
“Impressive. . . . From [Hassib’s] first page to her denouement we can be gripped and moved by a study of the fault-lines within an immigrant family.”
“Hassib writes with an authority uncommon in debut writers; in this important book, she weaves the beauty of Arabic culture with the harsh realities of modern American life with exceptional insight and poetic ease.”
“[A] sensitive, finely wrought debut . . . sharply observant of immigrants’ intricate relationships to their adopted homelands, this exciting novel announces the arrival of a psychologically and socially astute new writer.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“[A] stellar debut. . . . Thoughtfully examining the role of religion and prayer, parents and grandparents, this rich novel offers complex characters, beautiful writing, and astute observations about the similarities and differences between the Egyptian and American outlooks on life. It would be difficult to find a better book for any discussion group; highly recommended.”
—Library Journal (starred review)
“Topical both in its take on race relations and in its depiction of a trouble young man with ready access to firearms. . . . Hassib is a capable writer, especially when dealing with the interpersonal. Her natural use of language resembles that of Khaled Hosseini.”
“A family reckons with tragedy amid a storm of suspicion in Egyptian author Hassib’s debut novel. . . . [In the Language of Miracles] offers fascinating insight into the lives of American Muslims, and the prejudice with which they contended in the years after 9/11.”
“[An] admirable debut . . . Hassib does fine work portraying a family divided by culturally and generationally divergent reactions to a harrowing situation, and the novel builds to a gratifying crescendo as the memorial nears and tensions rise.”
“Spoken words are all powerful in Rajia Hassib’s masterful book about thought vs. action. Whether the characters are explaining, questioning, or stating their deepest beliefs, though, conversation never creates anything; it’s the human response to the life that subsumes us, whether we’re active or passive. In the face of tragedy, and even great happiness, abstractions fall away; the personal and particular endure. It’s a very moving book.”
“Smart, nuanced and culturally dazzling, In the Language of Miracles is a heartrending story of Egyptians and Americans, of two families whose lives are intertwined and then unraveled by fate. Hassib’s writing has an intoxicating quality that made this a page-turner, but by the end, her beautiful story surpasses its characters in its unflinching investigation of tragedy, mental illness, and healing across two cultures in conflict.”
—Zoë Ferraris, author of Finding Nouf and City of Veils
“Rajia Hassib's In the Language of Miracles is a tautly told story of one family’s grief and the quiet but daunting burden of survivorship. She has deftly captured their individual struggles as they swim through the deep waters of loss and blame. We turn page after page and hope, as all bereaved do, that there’s a chance for healing.”
—Nadia Hashimi, author of When the Moon is Low and The Pearl That Broke Its Shell
“Rajia Hassib’s timely novel is a gripping, hold-your-breath exposé about being Muslim in post-9/11 America where the heinous act of one can demonize all. But it’s also a universal, multi-generational, immigrant tale. The old-world, Egyptian grandmother’s bungled English, her prayers and incense, rub against her American-born, tech-savvy grandchildren’s bungled Arabic and Western music. It’s an intelligent, beautifully rendered reminder that no matter our ethnicity or creed, we all long for acceptance and a place to call home.”
—Marie Manilla, author of The Patron Saint of Ugly
“Rajia Hassib has a finger on the pulse of two languages and two cultures. She deftly spins an honest tale of a family reeling in the wake of tragedy, all the while exploring the subtle complexities embedded in communication, culture, and human relationships.”
—Laila Halaby, author of Once in a Promised Land
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Rajia Hassib was born and raised in Egypt and moved to the United States when she was twenty-three. She holds an MA in creative writing from Marshall University and her writing has appeared in The New Yorker online, Upstreet, Steam Ticket, and Border Crossing magazines. She lives in West Virginia.
From the Hardcover edition.
Top customer reviews
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Particularly in these scary times, it's important to read novels like this one, about families targeted as the dangerous other not just because of what they or one of their members does--and one of the sons is a murderer-- but because of where they come from and what they look like.
I also became more knowledgeable about the Muslim religion and their customs which was very enlightening to me.
I would definitely recommend this book.
Prejudice towards the family is described vividly and with compassion for the four family members left to grieve the loss of their eldest son.
What I had a problem with was that after a while the story became repetitive. Overall, it was a good reading.