- Hardcover: 400 pages
- Publisher: SJP for Hogarth; 1st edition (June 12, 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1524763551
- ISBN-13: 978-1524763558
- Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.3 x 9.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 244 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,202 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A Place for Us: A Novel Hardcover – June 12, 2018
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Praise for A Place for Us:
“Absolutely gorgeous...Mirza writes about family life with the wisdom, insight and patience you would expect from a mature novelist adding a final masterpiece to her canon, but this is, fortunately, just the start of an extraordinary career…. Has a household ever been cradled in such tender attention as this novel provides?... As Marilynne Robinson has done with Protestants and Alice McDermott has done with Catholics, Mirza finds in the intensity of a faithful Muslim family a universal language of love and anguish that speaks to us all... In prose of quiet beauty and measured restraint, Mirza traces those twined strands of yearning and sorrow that faith involves. She writes with a mercy that encompasses all things.... Each time I stole away into this novel, it felt like a privilege to dwell among these people, to fall back under the gentle light of Mirza’s words."
— Ron Charles, Washington Post
“Ambitious… a family epic that is textured and keenly felt… Mirza draws Amar’s lifelong struggle with the concept of unconditional devotion so poignantly that readers will find it exceedingly relatable. But so too is the mysterious whisper in his ear urging him always to return, no matter how far he strays, back home.”
— New York Times Book Review
“The thinking person’s summer read, a rich and layered tale about family and assimilation.”
— Entertainment Weekly
"[An] impassioned debut novel… Mirza is attuned to the subtle ways in which siblings and parents compete for one another's affection. A ruminative final section, in which the father addresses his wayward son, is a moving coda."
— The New Yorker
"The book dives into the lives of a Muslim-American family, opening on the eve of the eldest daughter's marriage, and examines the intricacies of a family straddling two very different cultures."
— Vanity Fair
“A Place for Us is a stunning novel about love, compassion, cruelty and forgiveness — the very things that make families what they are…[Mirza’s] writing is gorgeous, unadorned but beautiful… a miracle of a book. A Place for Us is a major accomplishment, a work of real beauty and fierce originality.”
— Michael Schaub, NPR.org
“In polished prose that zeroes in on domestic detail and, at its loveliest, recalls Jhumpa Lahiri, Mirza delivers a portrait of a family straining to hold its center amid rebellions both quiet and explosive.”
“A rich portrait of a fractured Muslim family…With unwavering compassion, this beautiful heartbreaker unravels the mystery of who may be to blame for Amar’s estrangement.”
“This is a richly detailed, immersive saga that hooks you from the jump and keeps you absorbed even as you spend decades with its characters. A Place for Us is a tender examination of identity and familial roles, of faith, and of what it means to be home.”
— Marie Claire
“An affecting, authentic and artful debut by Fatima Farheen Mirza… Mirza's writing is poignantly beautiful…By the end of the novel, readers may wish that some characters had spoken up at critical junctures and that other characters had swallowed the words that irreparably altered the course of events. That we become so invested is a testament to Mirza's talent.”
— Associated Press
"A stunner, worthy of a place among the finest books ever written about an American family."
— Minneapolis Star Tribune
"If you crave a family epic, read A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza....In this stunning, gorgeous novel, Mirza looks at the crucial events in an Indian-American Muslim family from many perspectives."
“One of the biggest books of the summer.”
“Fatima Farheen Mirza's A Place for Us is everything I love about family sagas. It traverses time and place, explores the conflicts between a parent's expectation and a child's desires, and, most importantly, introduces us to fully imagined, flawed characters whose relationships are deep, entangled, and rich in love. The story — which centers on an American Muslim family navigating the tension between tradition and autonomy — is told in fragments, jumping from one character to another, slowly adding layers to scenes by revisiting interactions from multiple perspectives. And Mirza renders this family with a gentle hand, lovingly, so that each character will make their way into your heart.”
"A brilliant debut from Fatima Farheen Mirza... this is a story about hope, and about the ways in which, if we open ourselves up to forgive the flaws in those we love, we can better move forward toward a brighter future."
“A complex narrative that dives into the fractured relationships that make up an Indian family as they gather for a wedding.”
“Few novels so elegantly capture the complicated cultural dynamics of a modern American family quite like A Place for Us....Told from multiple perspectives, the story offers a nuanced look at what it's like to feel caught between two cultures, struggling to honor where you come from while attempting to fit in where you are. A devastating and deeply moving book.”
"This affecting debut follows an Indian-American Muslim family as they assimilate into U.S. culture... Mirza’s expansive novel tackles everything from 9-11 to addiction, each moment offering a sliver of explanation as to how a family can become so fractured. Mirza writes about her characters with an incredible amount of tenderness, keeping readers invested."
— Village Voice
"A Place for Us resonates at the crossroads of culture, character, storytelling and poignancy."
"A hauntingly beautiful and poignant story of identity, belonging and perception. This first novel from Sarah Jessica Parker's new imprint, SJP for Hogarth, is as timely as it is stunning, and is the perfect launch for an imprint designed to celebrate literary fiction titles that will resonate with all readers, regardless of race, gender or experience."
“Fatima Farheen Mirza’s story brilliantly displays a path to mold old traditions with the new to examine love and identity.”
— The Margins
“Extraordinary in its depth and diligence... Mirza adeptly revisits painful dilemmas from each narrator’s perspective, revealing jolting secrets. Each complex, surprising character struggles with faith, responsibility, racism, fear, longing, and jealousy, while Mirza conveys with graceful specificity the rhythms of Muslim life, from prayer to wearing hijab, gender etiquette, food, holidays, and values, all of which illuminate universal quandaries about family, self, culture, beliefs, and generational change.”
"A California-based Indian Muslim family celebrates the wedding of daughter Hadia, marrying for love. Present is her estranged brother Amar, who hasn't easily mnaged the rough road between youth and adulthood, Old World tradition and America, and the novel effectively unfolds family tensions and Amar's swirling personal anguish."
— Library Journal
“The debut of 26-year-old Mirza is the first book from Sarah Jessica Parker's imprint at Hogarth; it explores the spiritual lives of its characters with sympathy and passion. The title of the book echoes a song from West Side Story, itself a retelling of Romeo and Juliet. Here the warring forces are not two families but one, split by the tension between reverence and rebellion. The author's passion for her subject shines like the moon in the night sky, a recurrent image in this ardent and powerful novel.”
“Mirza displays a particular talent for rendering her characters’ innermost emotional lives, signaling a writer to watch.”
— Publishers Weekly
"A Place for Us is a triumph and an inspiration. I wish everyone would read this novel. A chronicle of the shattered expectations and irreconcilable desires within an American-Muslim family, A Place for Us hums with a deep faith in an unknown future, reminding its readers that when we are lost, love gives us a map home.”
— KAREN RUSSELL, author of Swamplandia!
“A Place for Us is a radiantly envisioned, beautifully achieved epic about nearly everything that matters: love, family, faith, freedom, betrayal, contrition, absolution. Fatima Farheen Mirza is a magnificent new voice."
— ANTHONY MARRA, author of A Constellation of Vital Phenomena
“This powerful, intricate debut is essential reading.”
— NOVIOLET BULAWAYO, author of We Need New Names
“This extraordinary, piercingly wise novel examines as profoundly as any book I know the threads of injury and grace that stitch together a family. Fatima Farheen Mirza has the passionate intelligence and moral vision that announce not merely an excellent writer, but a great one. I felt such gratitude reading this fiercely compassionate debut, and such joy at discovering a voice I will follow for the rest of my life.”
— GARTH GREENWELL, author of What Belongs to You
"The depth of the storytelling and the beauty of the language makes this debut novel by Fatima Farheen Mirza something to treasure. Highly recommended!"
— JOHN BOYNE, author of A Ladder to the Sky
“Fatima Farheen Mirza’s A Place for Us is a radiant debut. It accretes its power, beauty, and insight through its tender witnessing of private and family life. With her deeply compassionate view, Mirza dignifies terrain often desecrated by contemporary culture: maternity, faith, the bonds of community, the yearning for goodness, and our duty to others. She shows us the destructiveness of our doubt in those we love, and the mercy of forgiveness. Most wondrously, with this felt and moving novel, Mirza creates a place in which rebellion and reverence seem to embrace.”
— CHARMAINE CRAIG, author of Miss Burma
“Fatima Farheen Mirza’s A Place for Us is a work of extraordinary and enthralling beauty. It is so deeply imagined, so intimately attentive to and solicitous of the lives it follows, so artful in describing the inseparable human experiences of pride and resentment, humility and loyalty -- and, most of all, love – that it feels not as if we are reading a novel about this Muslim-American family struggling with tradition and culture, but as if we become actual members of the family. It is that immersive, that brilliant, that true.”
— PAUL HARDING, author of Tinkers
"Beautiful, intimate, tender. So vividly told the characters live and breathe."
— RACHEL JOYCE, author of The Music Shop
About the Author
FATIMA FARHEEN MIRZA was born in 1991 and raised in California. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and a recipient of the Michener-Copernicus Fellowship.
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This is a family saga that absolutely captured my attention from the very first page. I found each of the characters interesting and enjoyed how Mirza moved the story in time and perspective. I loved that although this is an immigrant story that is well done, it is also the story of more than just a family trying to assimilate in a new country and culture. Mirza's characters each have their own stories and flaws that are developed. I felt like this picture of a family is well done, that Mirza shows the good, the bad, the beautiful, the ugly. The resolution of the story is also well done, although not tied up with a pretty bow, either.
A Place For Us will very likely be one of the best books I read in 2018. I can't wait to see what else this author creates.
This book both broke my heart and made me smile throughout. Each character is so masterfully and intricately written that you feel as if you truly know them. You feel the love as it blooms in their hearts, their sadness and devastation as each strand of cord that ties them together is broken, their anxiety and inner conflict when they are keeping a secret, their regret and feelings of guilt that motivate them to do both everything and nothing to fix themselves and one another. Even Huda, who seems to be more of a minor character comes through with strength as the decades pass. I love the way that Fatima Farheen Mirza continues to give entirely different perspectives on the same events from each of the characters in the book. Hadia's great love for her entire family that is sometimes challenged for her desire for individual freedoms and equality. Layla's blind love for her son is counterbalanced for the jealousy she guiltily feels over her daughter's preference for Rafiq when they are young. Amar's desire for approval is diminished by what he feels is constant rejection from his community. What was most interesting to me was to recognize that Amar and Rafiq were mirror images of one another. Both wanted nothing more than love and acceptance from one another, but both were too prideful and afraid of rejection to allow themselves to actually pursue it. The saddest part about this story are the feelings they keep hidden in the dark recesses of their hearts and souls until it is too late. So many times throughout the book I found myself saying, JUST SAY IT! TELL THEM! But how like us all it is to keep these most important things tucked away, only to allow our anger and knee-jerk reactions dominate our relationships?
Rafiq's narrative is the most heart-wrenching to read as a parent. I related so much to both Hadia and Amar because everyone has been the rebellious teenager who wishes they could just be accepted as they are. But as a parent, and understanding Rafiq's regret at the ripple effect his words and actions had not just in his own life, but in the life of his children left me speechless. How often do I say things to my children that hurt them because I think it is the right thing to say, when really I want to give them the love they are yearning for? The final piece of the story, in which Rafiq finally sets aside his pride and delivers a message to Amar via Abbas, is where I finally teared up and where we finally see Rafiq come full circle to his own desires to know his father as a boy.
Beautiful story, beautiful prose and beautiful tragedy. This book is one that will live on for many, many years!
Sadly, a number of books I have read address the opioid crisis in one way or another. Does any one family escape?