A Place for Us
A Place for Us unfolds the lives of an Indian-American Muslim family, gathered together in their Californian hometown to celebrate the eldest daughter, Hadia’s, wedding–a match of love rather than tradition. It is here, on this momentous day, that Amar, the youngest of the siblings, reunites with his family for the first time in three years. Rafiq and Layla must now contend with the choices and betrayals that lead to their son’s estrangement–the reckoning of parents who strove to pass on their cultures and traditions to their children, and of children who in turn struggle to balance authenticity in themselves with loyalty to the home they came from.In a narrative that spans decades and sees family life through the eyes of each member, A Place For Us charts the crucial moments in the family's past, from the bonds that bring them together to the differences that pull them apart. And as siblings Hadia, Huda, and Amar attempt to carve out a life for themselves, they must reconcile their present culture with their parent's faith, to tread a path between the old world and the new, and learn how the smallest decisions can lead to the deepest of betrayals.A deeply affecting and resonant story, A Place for Us is truly a book for our times: a moving portrait of what it means to be an American family today, a novel of love, identity and belonging that eloquently examines what it means to be both American and Muslim-and announces Fatima Farheen Mirza as a major new literary talent.

A Place for Us Details

TitleA Place for Us
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJun 12th, 2018
PublisherSJP for Hogarth
Rating
GenreFiction, Contemporary, Literary Fiction, Adult Fiction, Novels, Cultural, India, Realistic Fiction, Adult, Family

A Place for Us Review

  • Emily May
    January 1, 1970
    She could hold in her heart a belief in Islam as well as the unwavering belief that every human had the right to choose who they loved, and how, and that belief was in exact accordance with her faith: that it is the individual's right to choose, and the individual's duty to empathize with one another. Do you love those slow-burning, quiet family dramas that take you so fully into the lives of the characters? The kind that show complex human beings trying, often failing, and trying again to do t She could hold in her heart a belief in Islam as well as the unwavering belief that every human had the right to choose who they loved, and how, and that belief was in exact accordance with her faith: that it is the individual's right to choose, and the individual's duty to empathize with one another. Do you love those slow-burning, quiet family dramas that take you so fully into the lives of the characters? The kind that show complex human beings trying, often failing, and trying again to do their best? It's not an action-packed fantasy or a spine-tingling thriller, but get me in the right mood and I adore these kinds of books. Celeste Ng is one of my personal favourites.And A Place for Us is a perfect example of one of these books. It moves from the present to the past and back again to tell a carefully-crafted tale of an Indian-American Muslim family and all the conflicts and love that exist between its members. It spans several decades and explores themes of culture, faith and identity."Somewhere (A Place For Us)" is a song that musical lovers will know well. It comes from West Side Story, which sees two lovers torn apart by cultural and familial differences, in the vein of Romeo and Juliet. This book tells a similar story, yet the divisions exist within one single family instead of between two. Will they ever get to a place beyond the burden of their differences?The book opens with a wedding. The bride is Hadia - a young woman who we soon learn has broken tradition by choosing her own husband and embracing more modern interpretations of Islam. We also learn that she has invited her brother, Amar, to the wedding and this will be the first time the family has been reunited since Amar ran away years before.Then we move back in time and a picture slowly starts to build of this family. Mirza shows the intricacies in relationships, whether it be between husband and wife, brother and sister, or mother and daughter. As this family is drawn in detail, we are also taken through experiences relating to 9/11, forbidden love, and the loss of a close friend whose death affects them all.Ultimately, A Place for Us is about what it means to be both American and Muslim; it is about the clash of religious and cultural tradition with modern ideas and the right to choose. Hadia faces decisions about wearing the hijab and arranged marriage - can she please her parents and be her own person at the same time? Is it possible to unite the old with the new?My only (small) complaint is that I think another round of editing could have shaved off some of the parts that rehashed the same ideas over again. Depth is excellent; waffling is not. But anyway, it is a minor issue and I really enjoyed the book.This is the first book from Sarah Jessica Parker's new imprint SJP for Hogarth and I have to say I am intrigued to see what else they publish.Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube
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  • Diane S ☔
    January 1, 1970
    Wow!! I am just blown away by the fact that this is a first novel, the story and theme so universal. A Muslim Indian family in America, trying to maintain it's own beliefs and culture, while facing modernity. This family, mother, father, two daughters , Hadia and Huda, and the youngest, a son Amar who never really feels he belongs. We come to know this family inside and out,the book starts with the marriage of Hadia,and then goes back and forth, to various beginnings and endings. While their bel Wow!! I am just blown away by the fact that this is a first novel, the story and theme so universal. A Muslim Indian family in America, trying to maintain it's own beliefs and culture, while facing modernity. This family, mother, father, two daughters , Hadia and Huda, and the youngest, a son Amar who never really feels he belongs. We come to know this family inside and out,the book starts with the marriage of Hadia,and then goes back and forth, to various beginnings and endings. While their beliefs may not be mine, many of the problems between parents and siblings are indeed universal. As they struggle to find their place in the larger world, the children also struggle to find their place in the family. Living up to parental expectations, or in Amar's case the struggle to find his place anywhere at all. Trying to carvea path between cultural and religious beliefs and the lessening of this expectation to fit with the place they now find themselves. The story of this family in all its totality is both moving and insightful. The barriers to acceptance by children and parents after 911, when all Muslims were viewed with suspicion and in many cases outright hate. By showing us the commonalities in their family and our own, this young author has shown us that ww may in fact may not be so different. The last part of the book focuses on the father's point of view,alone. How he thought, what went wrong and what he wished he had done differently. It is full of anguish and remorse, and we clearly see for the first time what this Muslim, husband, father has gone through, from his own childhood to the way he tried to instill family values and religious beliefs in his children. It does end on a note of positivity, sadness yes, but hopefully as well. This is an outstanding piece of fiction, in my opinion, I quite frankly fell hard for this family, with all it's flaws and things mistakenly done out of love. I wasn't ready to leave them at books end, and I believe if you read, or at least I hope, that you will see some of the same values, if not the religious beliefs, that we try to instill in our own families. This is also the first book published under the Sarah Jessica Parker imprint of Random House, and it is a wonderful beginning.ARC from bookbrowse and Random House.
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  • Elyse
    January 1, 1970
    Absolutely wonderful!!! If you see reviews deeply speaking to your heart -or feel personally important to you in one way or another such as Diane S’s review did for me...and more and more high rating reviews rolling in....Karen, Cheri, Jill, Patti, Rhonda, Alaina, Anne, Amena, DeAnn, Linda, Mimi, Virginia, Amin, KatieB, Jill Dobbie,Becky, Barbara, Kimberly, Tamkeen, Nancy, Betty, Kathy, Jamckean, Marcy,Janet, Karen Hagerman, Patti...on and on and on.......and the book is not even released in sto Absolutely wonderful!!! If you see reviews deeply speaking to your heart -or feel personally important to you in one way or another such as Diane S’s review did for me...and more and more high rating reviews rolling in....Karen, Cheri, Jill, Patti, Rhonda, Alaina, Anne, Amena, DeAnn, Linda, Mimi, Virginia, Amin, KatieB, Jill Dobbie,Becky, Barbara, Kimberly, Tamkeen, Nancy, Betty, Kathy, Jamckean, Marcy,Janet, Karen Hagerman, Patti...on and on and on.......and the book is not even released in stores until June, 12th, 2018.....it’s because this book it’s THAT GOOD.... fulfilling everything - and more- that we want from a fiction book. “A Place For Us” would make a great book club discussion pick. Especially where I live in Silicon Valley, in the Santa Clara County. We have the 2nd highest Muslim population in the region. The narrative is excellent....personal & intimate. We get to know the characters well and are drawn into their inner most emotional lives — ( really personal storytelling), allowing for us - the reader to better understand them as individuals- and as a family - with all their many trials and tribulations. This epic story explores the hardships of embracing change and still honoring heritage, ( balancing Muslim/American identities), cultural isolationism, social economic factors, immigration issues...and Islamophobia. At the same time -we get a clear look at the immediate family members struggles. The author does this by weaving together three non-linear points of view — and it flows effortlessly. I’m usually picky about points of view - and timeline changes - but with the smooth storytelling—the author demonstrated a clear style of her own. And quite brilliantly. My husband and I are close friends with two Muslim/America women who are lawyers and represent MuslimAmerican clients- social rights, etc. They told us about a Bay Area survey that was taken more than decade after 9/11– taken by Muslims of all ethnicities and backgrounds. What they learned was many are still dealing with anxiety and fears. 40% experienced personal discrimination. 23% have been victims of hate crime. So this book is very relevant even today. I didn’t think it was an accident that author Fatima Farheen Mirza lives in California and places much of this story in California. I felt like she knew her characters ‘first hand’....as they were so ‘real’. Amar is the only son of Rafiq and Layla. Also the youngest sibling. He’s was psychologically complex - intriguing - and conflicted. He not only hated his Quran teachers as a 10 year old, got in fights —at times I couldn’t blame him when a kid said his Baba looked like a f#@king terrorist—but as he grew older — his relationship with his father became increasingly toxic. We have hints of this strained father/son relationship at the start of the novel when Amar returns home for his sisters, Hadia’s wedding, having not seen his family in 3 years. The ending was extremely moving— I had tears. An amazing story ....from the language Urdu- the foods- clothing- prayers- family home life - the secrets - betrayals- hopes - dreams - Love....etc.This novel is also conscience-ridden...a fast page turner that’s vital of our times. AND JUST DARN GOOD!!!Thank You, Emily for sending me this gorgeous physical book! The cover is stunning.
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  • Larry H
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars, rounded up.Poignant, warm, and thought-provoking, A Place for Us is a tremendously self-assured look at an American Muslim family, and the obligations and tangles that family and religion create.Family and friends of Rafiq and Layla gather for the wedding of their oldest daughter, Hadia, who has broken tradition by marrying for love and not marrying a match arranged by her parents.Hadia has always been headstrong, but she has made her parents proud by becoming a doctor, again, not a 4.5 stars, rounded up.Poignant, warm, and thought-provoking, A Place for Us is a tremendously self-assured look at an American Muslim family, and the obligations and tangles that family and religion create.Family and friends of Rafiq and Layla gather for the wedding of their oldest daughter, Hadia, who has broken tradition by marrying for love and not marrying a match arranged by her parents.Hadia has always been headstrong, but she has made her parents proud by becoming a doctor, again, not a choice usually made by Muslim daughters. At Hadia's side as always is her younger sister, Huda, dutiful and proud, always looking to keep the peace, which is a quality necessary for her job as a teacher.While the family is a bit nervous because of the wedding, the tension is increased because Hadia has invited her youngest sibling, their brother Amar, to the wedding. No one has seen him in three years. As the only boy, he was favored, but he was more sensitive, demanding, difficult, and always knew how to provoke feelings of love and dissension among his family members. Hadia wants him to attend the wedding but is also afraid of what unresolved issues he may bring with him.How did the family get to this point? The book spends a great deal of time looking back, from the days before Rafiq and Layla married and their young family grew, to the days where the challenges began. It is a fascinating exploration of how the most innocent of actions or intentions can go spectacularly awry, and how one decision can cause significant ripples which affect many people. The book also moves beyond the wedding, looking at the aftereffects of events that happened that night.The majority of the book alternates the narration between Layla, Hadia, and Amar, while later chapters are also narrated by Rafiq. You see the same events through different eyes, what those moments meant, and how they shape events around them. Within each chapter, there are recollections of various events at different times, so it does get a bit confusing trying to determine the time and place of what you're reading.I found A Place for Us so emotionally rich, a fascinating study of a family struggling with how to reconcile the traditions and beliefs of their religion with the needs and wants of the ever-changing world, particularly post-9/11. All too often there was a depth to the characters I didn't initially expect—ust when I believed a character was acting a particular way for a reason, with a different perspective, my assumptions were flipped.I thought this was a terrific book, truly a self-assured literary debut by Fatima Farheen Mizra. I honestly never understood much about Muslim families beyond what I've seen on television and in movies, so I welcomed this opportunity to learn more. This book made me realize once again that no matter how different two families may be, the issues they face are often quite similar.NetGalley, Crown Publishing Group, and SJP for Hogarth provided me an advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making this available! See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com, or check out my list of the best books I read in 2017 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2018/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2017.html.
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  • Karen
    January 1, 1970
    A Place For Us is a first novel for Fatima Farheen Mirza, and a first literary work acquired by Sarah Jessica Parker as editorial director for SJP for Hogarth.This is the story of a Muslim Indian American family, and their community, living in California. It begins with the wedding of Rafiq and Layla’s daughter Hadia’s wedding, a marriage based on love instead of the tradition. This wedding brings back together a family of five, including an estranged younger brother, Amar. The novel goes back a A Place For Us is a first novel for Fatima Farheen Mirza, and a first literary work acquired by Sarah Jessica Parker as editorial director for SJP for Hogarth.This is the story of a Muslim Indian American family, and their community, living in California. It begins with the wedding of Rafiq and Layla’s daughter Hadia’s wedding, a marriage based on love instead of the tradition. This wedding brings back together a family of five, including an estranged younger brother, Amar. The novel goes back and forth in time through the years of the children’s growing to adulthood.The author did such a great job of of exploring the issues of love and loss, familial and cultural expectations, honor, betrayal, faith and tradition... and each characters perspective on the different situations as the story unfolded. I loved this family and will be thinking about them for quite some time, I’m sure.Thank you to NetGalley, SJP for Hogarth, and especially to Fatima for a beautiful first novel!!!
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  • Sarah Jessica Parker
    January 1, 1970
    It is with tremendous excitement that I’m sharing Fatima Farheen Mirza’s novel, A Place for Us, the first book on the SJP for Hogarth list. When we first conceived of this imprint, and imagined the kinds of books we wanted to publish, I went back to my own bookshelves—to books I loved, books that expanded my horizons, and opened me up to other worlds. In A Place for Us, I found all this and more: an exquisitely tender-hearted story of a Muslim Indian American family caught between cultures, and It is with tremendous excitement that I’m sharing Fatima Farheen Mirza’s novel, A Place for Us, the first book on the SJP for Hogarth list. When we first conceived of this imprint, and imagined the kinds of books we wanted to publish, I went back to my own bookshelves—to books I loved, books that expanded my horizons, and opened me up to other worlds. In A Place for Us, I found all this and more: an exquisitely tender-hearted story of a Muslim Indian American family caught between cultures, and a deeply moving story of identity and belonging.
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  • Cheri
    January 1, 1970
    ”There's a place for us, Somewhere a place for us. Peace and quiet and open air Wait for us Somewhere. “There's a time for us, Some day a time for us, Time together with time to spare, Time to look, time to care, Someday! Somewhere. We'll find a new way of living, We'll find a way of forgiving Somewhere.” -- Somewhere (A Place For Us) - West Side Story, by Leonard Bernstein; lyrics by Stephen Sondheim A Muslim family struggles to maintain their religion, traditions and values, all the while hopi ”There's a place for us, Somewhere a place for us. Peace and quiet and open air Wait for us Somewhere. “There's a time for us, Some day a time for us, Time together with time to spare, Time to look, time to care, Someday! Somewhere. We'll find a new way of living, We'll find a way of forgiving Somewhere.” -- Somewhere (A Place For Us) - West Side Story, by Leonard Bernstein; lyrics by Stephen Sondheim A Muslim family struggles to maintain their religion, traditions and values, all the while hoping for acceptance in modern-day America. Living in California, Rafiq his wife, Layla, and their children, who are no longer children as this story begins - Hadia, Huda and Amar - and a wedding is imminent. A day of celebration, a joining together of Hadia and Tariq, while family and friends gather, witnessing, all in the name of love. "The wedding was coming together wonderfully. People were arriving on time. There was a table for mango juice and pineapple juice and another for appetizers, replenished as soon as the items were lifted from the platter. White orchids spilled from tall glass vases on every table." It was Amar’s duty to greet the arriving guests, and although he had stressed a bit beforehand at seeing some of these old, familiar faces, he hadn’t expected the soothing reassurance that came from being surrounded by these familiar faces, these smiles. Years have gone by since he’s seen any of them. Still, Amar is the lost son and brother, reckless, out-of-control, and there are reasons he has left this life behind. Facing them, facing those who have let him down as much as he’s let them down, is difficult for him. Each time, it takes a little bit more out of him. Most of all, he can’t bear to disappoint Hadia once again, and he can’t bear the thought of looking in his father’s eyes and seeing the unasked questions, seeing the disappointment. And the thought of seeing Amira, the girl he loved, loves still, is almost unbearable. Hadia is marrying Tariq, but while the ceremony will be traditional, the marriage is not. Hadia did not want an arranged marriage, and so she is marrying the man she chose to love. Her one rebellion against the old ways, traditions.As people revisit old memories, the story moves back and forth in time, sharing the stories of these characters. Rafiq and Layla’s story, and the stories of their children. Drugs, alcohol, 9/11 and how that affects them, arranged marriages vs. those based on an existing love, how their beliefs are refashioned around these changes, and others. The father, Rafiq, upon seeing his son Amar, revisits his life. The good, the bad and even the unintentional mistakes made, and tries to see a way to re-make the past, to patch the old breaks, polish the rough surfaces away. To find a way to a new beginning for all of them, and he views this all through a lens of his own faith, and his vision of the future coloured by hope. He knows that the sadness will always be a part of the past, and so his focus is on what lies ahead. I thought this was lovely, heartbreaking at times, but a lovely story that shares sincere and complex feelings, values and beliefs, both religious and personal. My heart broke for this family, for each of them in turn. I loved the themes of faith and home, and that this book slowly reveals how much more alike we all are than not, reminding us that diversity ought to be embraced, and I loved it for that. I wanted to read this after reading my goodreads friend Diane’s wonderful review, please check it out: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...This is Fatima Farheen Mirza’s debut novel, as well as the first book of Sarah Jessica Parker’s imprint at Hogarth. What a wonderful ‘entrance’ for SJP!Pub Date: 12 JUN 2018Many thanks for the ARC provided by SJP for Hogarth / Crown Publishing
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  • Anne Bogel
    January 1, 1970
    I may bump this up to 5 stars (but I like to sit with it a while first). This is one of the best, most emotionally resonant books I've read in a while. Complex, wistful, melancholy.
  • Warda
    January 1, 1970
    Finally, some more Muslim fiction is actually being released. I can’t wait to read this! It sounds phenomenal.
  • Amena
    January 1, 1970
    I finished this book last night. I can't even begin to explain how this book made me feel but I will try. Meet Hadia, Amar and Huda. Three Pakistani Muslim siblings trying to fit in an American culture. Their parents, Layla and Rafiq, also trying. *I think what makes this book exceptional is not just the immersive language, how invested I was in the characters, how much I was rooting for the sibling that just didn't feel as if he belonged, how I was thinking about the book ALL the time. For me, I finished this book last night. I can't even begin to explain how this book made me feel but I will try. Meet Hadia, Amar and Huda. Three Pakistani Muslim siblings trying to fit in an American culture. Their parents, Layla and Rafiq, also trying. *I think what makes this book exceptional is not just the immersive language, how invested I was in the characters, how much I was rooting for the sibling that just didn't feel as if he belonged, how I was thinking about the book ALL the time. For me, it was SO relatable; to my own childhood, my parents, questions I asked myself growing up as an Indian Muslim in the UK. I related to so many aspects I have lost count. From similar expectations my parents had of me whilst growing up, to having a mother that always guided us between right and wrong, a mother who was determined to love us, to never give up on us, be our champion. *I can't believe the author is 26 years old and wrote this book whilst studying. I mean seriously. What an achievement and a triumph of a debut novel. Fatima gets it all SPOT ON. For once we don't have a book with Muslim stereotypes. We actually have a remarkable story of family, culture, identity, love, compassion, forgiveness that bought tears to my eyes. No book has done that in a very long time. It is so tender and raw. *As humans we have the capacity to feel, to understand. We should be so thankful that books can ignite the strongest feelings and memories inside us, ones that we thought were long buried. I think my rating is obvious, 5🌟 A huge thank you to @penguinrhuk and @hogarthbooks for sending me this proof. I feel lost now that I've finished it. This is also the first novel @sarahjessicaparker chose for Hogarth. On the back of the proof it says "To be taken hostage by Fatima Mirza's heartrending and timely story is a gutting pleasure..I guarantee you will be different when you close the book." She is wholly accurate. It pulls your heart, brings tears to your eyes and hits you in the gut.
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  • DeAnn
    January 1, 1970
    10 stars to this stunning debut novel from Fatima Farheen Mirza. I fell in love with this family, each and every character. The story centers around the Muslim Indian American family, Layla and Rafiq as parents and the three siblings: Hadia, Huda, and Amar. Mirza's writing totally drew me in to the over-achieving oldest child Hadia, who wants to please her parents; Huda, the somewhat overlooked middle child; and Amar, the son who struggles with the strictness of his father.The book opens with Ha 10 stars to this stunning debut novel from Fatima Farheen Mirza. I fell in love with this family, each and every character. The story centers around the Muslim Indian American family, Layla and Rafiq as parents and the three siblings: Hadia, Huda, and Amar. Mirza's writing totally drew me in to the over-achieving oldest child Hadia, who wants to please her parents; Huda, the somewhat overlooked middle child; and Amar, the son who struggles with the strictness of his father.The book opens with Hadia's wedding and then we are gifted with vignettes of episodes throughout the lives of the family members. Brilliant storytelling, lyrical language, and a glimpse into the lives of this family. The last chapter tore my heart out with the story in Rafiq's voice. I finally understood him. So many parts of the story resonated with me as a parent and sibling.I highly recommend this character-driven book. I hope it gets a wide audience.
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  • Jill
    January 1, 1970
    I almost didn’t read this, because my first impression when reading the description was that I have read a similar story too often lately. This book, however, was fresh and beautifully moving with gorgeous prose. I loved this book and was sad for it to end.
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  • Sumaiyya
    January 1, 1970
    It’s been a few days since I finished reading A PLACE FOR US by Fatima Farheen Mirza, but I still think about this book and its characters almost on a daily basis. There’s something that’s part of the book’s plot that’s mirroring my life right now, but I know in my heart I’m remembering this story so much because it was just such a devastatingly beautiful and heartwarming experience. The writing pulled me in instantly, and I marveled at how natural the storytelling was. I’m convinced that Mirza It’s been a few days since I finished reading A PLACE FOR US by Fatima Farheen Mirza, but I still think about this book and its characters almost on a daily basis. There’s something that’s part of the book’s plot that’s mirroring my life right now, but I know in my heart I’m remembering this story so much because it was just such a devastatingly beautiful and heartwarming experience. The writing pulled me in instantly, and I marveled at how natural the storytelling was. I’m convinced that Mirza was born to write this story, and I’ll be recommending it for a long time.I’m always on the lookout for books with non-clichéd Muslim characters, and Mirza’s debut has filled a gaping whole in my life. Not only has it given me an intensely moving story of family, but it’s also managed to capture the essence of my religion in a way that I’ve never seen before in fiction.Full review: https://sumaiyyareads.wordpress.com/2...
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  • Mimi
    January 1, 1970
    What is home? I can always come home can't I? What if I don't know how to find my way back? Then where do I belong? Who am I?These are the questions at the heart of A Place For Us that haunt you long after you finish reading. As an immigrant, there are additional nuances to what it means to find your place in the world because it is often not just one single location, it's often not even a physical space. You're told when you immigrate that you will need to give up elements of your old life to g What is home? I can always come home can't I? What if I don't know how to find my way back? Then where do I belong? Who am I?These are the questions at the heart of A Place For Us that haunt you long after you finish reading. As an immigrant, there are additional nuances to what it means to find your place in the world because it is often not just one single location, it's often not even a physical space. You're told when you immigrate that you will need to give up elements of your old life to gain the new. In this story the mom Layla suspects the sacrifice may be too great and she struggles to hold on to their roots for her kids. She worries as I know my parents worried, "If they so easily lose their own language, what else will be lost?" Each layer lost is a greater distance from who you were. My heart aches for the family at the heart of this story. It moves at the pace of a slow burn as Fatima traces each moment that their lives pivot on, going back and forth over time, linking each one together. The motivations of each character which are so clear to us the reader, are opaque to them. It hurts to see how things might have been different if they had only spoken out loud the small dreams, intentions, and pains they had at key moments. Love has good intentions but does it have good expectations? Don't you know - that's the thing - everyone is not just good. Everyone is trying to be good, and not good at trying either.I hope others will also savor Fatima's minute descriptions that made me say yes, I know what that feels like! I think anyone can find a character they will relate to. For me, I know what it is to be the oldest daughter like Hadia, wanting to please my parents almost more than I do myself, so that I can earn that place that would go to a firstborn son. I know how it feels to have a secret crush, unrealized and never spoken. I know what it is like to feel responsible for a sibling, and that my kind and selfish choices could affect who they are too. I know what it feels like when I suddenly realize I am now an adult with my parents and not just a child. I know how it feels to fear that love is conditional. This Muslim Indian American family could be my own. Rafiq, the father of this story, says at one point in the story to his young family, "I might know a place for us." Inshallah one day ...
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  • Jamie
    January 1, 1970
    There are so many lessons that this book gives us. The most important is that it is very easy to love someone and not show them. How easy it is to push people away just by not speaking your thoughts. This book does a great job of weaving together the points of view from different characters. By doing this we are able to see the same events from these differing views. The timeline jumps around frequently without any real indication of when the story is in the timeline, such as indicating the year There are so many lessons that this book gives us. The most important is that it is very easy to love someone and not show them. How easy it is to push people away just by not speaking your thoughts. This book does a great job of weaving together the points of view from different characters. By doing this we are able to see the same events from these differing views. The timeline jumps around frequently without any real indication of when the story is in the timeline, such as indicating the year, but it is very easy to determine what timeframe the story is at by paying attention to the events that are mentioned. Normally I don't think this type of jumping around works, but from my perspective it flowed very well. This was a very touching story and is one of the most amazing stories I have read in a long time. I give it 5 stars & 4 tissues!
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  • Katherine
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this book! It is a very moving story and the characters are so well-developed that I feel like I really know them. I am so glad I read this one!
  • Linda Zagon
    January 1, 1970
    My Review of “A Place For Us” by Fatima Farheen MirzaTitle: Family Tradition and Love5 *****“A Place for Us” by Fatima Farheen Mirza is intriguing and captivating story of an Indian-American Muslim family. The struggle and conflict of observing one’s faith, tradition, needs and wants is intense. A constant theme of finding balance in a complicated society. The genres for the novel are Fiction and Women’s Fiction. The story mostly takes place in California. The timeline in this story vacillate be My Review of “A Place For Us” by Fatima Farheen MirzaTitle: Family Tradition and Love5 *****“A Place for Us” by Fatima Farheen Mirza is intriguing and captivating story of an Indian-American Muslim family. The struggle and conflict of observing one’s faith, tradition, needs and wants is intense. A constant theme of finding balance in a complicated society. The genres for the novel are Fiction and Women’s Fiction. The story mostly takes place in California. The timeline in this story vacillate between the past and present as it pertains to the events and characters.The author describes her colorful cast of characters as complicated, complex and confused. The story can be told as seen through the eyes of each character. I appreciate that the author describes the religion, and traditions, culture and food, and clothing. Hadia, the oldest daughter in the family is getting married to a man that she chose herself, breaking away from the tradition of having a husband chosen for her. Hadia is a physician and has invited their estranged brother Amar to her wedding. Amar does come to the wedding, and surprises his parents Layla and Rafiq , and his other sister Huma. Betrayals, conflicts, and questions of forgiveness come up at this time.The author describes the time period around 9/11, when Rafiq encourages his daughters to wear American clothes, not to be singled out. Amar gets into a major racist fight at school, when other students accuse him of being a terrorist. The students tell him to go home. Amar tries to deal with the fact that America is his home.The author discusses the family dynamics of love, support , change, forgiveness, acceptance and hope. I would recommend this story for those readers who appreciate an emotional conflicted inspirational story. I received an ARC for my honest review.
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  • Rhonda Lomazow
    January 1, 1970
    This is a gorgeously written debut novel.A. Novel about a Muslim family a daughters wedding a sons homecoming.We are drawn into the family celebration then introduced to the family members.We go back into their history as the children were born grew up their issues family problems and why the only son has been gone for years returning to his sisters wedding.This novel is the first in Sara Jessica Parker’s book club & is very deserving of being chosen.The type of novel you will sink into and This is a gorgeously written debut novel.A. Novel about a Muslim family a daughters wedding a sons homecoming.We are drawn into the family celebration then introduced to the family members.We go back into their history as the children were born grew up their issues family problems and why the only son has been gone for years returning to his sisters wedding.This novel is the first in Sara Jessica Parker’s book club & is very deserving of being chosen.The type of novel you will sink into and not want to leave.Thanks Hogarth press & NetGalley for the advance Galley.Top read Of year so far,
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  • Virginia Myers
    January 1, 1970
    I was literally blown away by the experience of reading A PLACE FOR US by Fatima Farheed Mirza. The book was quite different from what I expected. First, I need to explain that I am a senior adult who is looking as you say “in my rear view mirror” at my life and the life of my family. I am a Christian and my faith is quite important to me. Second, I knew the book was going to be about an American Muslim family and I had anticipated that it would primarily center on the prejudices they would face I was literally blown away by the experience of reading A PLACE FOR US by Fatima Farheed Mirza. The book was quite different from what I expected. First, I need to explain that I am a senior adult who is looking as you say “in my rear view mirror” at my life and the life of my family. I am a Christian and my faith is quite important to me. Second, I knew the book was going to be about an American Muslim family and I had anticipated that it would primarily center on the prejudices they would face since our country is so judgmentally divided and full of hate today. So I anticipated I would need to be understanding as I read about a culture that was quite different from mine. The book does have a few elements of prejudice but this is not front and center.The thing that impressed me most about the book is that it is the story about a family facing the problems that many of us have faced as our children form beliefs of their own which sometimes are at odds with the values and traditions that we, their parents, hold very close to our hearts. The author wrote this book about a Muslim family, but the truth is the book could have been a Christian, Jew, Buddhist or Mormon family. The hurt would be the same – the guilt would be the same- the yearning of the parents for them to be “family” again would be the same. I found the book to be a deeply moving account of those times when mistakes are made and for me the story rang with an authenticity that reached the core of my being. I received this book as part of the First Impressions program at Book Browse.com and this is my honest review of the book.
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  • Amin
    January 1, 1970
    A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza is a breathtaking novel that everyone must read. It is a detailed and intimate depiction of identity, family and faith. A novel that completely absorbs the reader, you will become invested in each character and think of them long after you have turned the last page. A compelling and moving story about what it means to be human.
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  • Katie B
    January 1, 1970
    Married couple Rafiq and Layla grew up in India but moved to the United States to raise their three children. Their eldest daughter, Hadia, is set marry which should be a cause for great celebration. However, there is tension in the air as Amar, the youngest sibling and only son, has come back for the wedding after a long estrangement from his family. This is a story that follows the lives of this family as they deal with love, loss, resentment, and regret.This is definitely one of those family Married couple Rafiq and Layla grew up in India but moved to the United States to raise their three children. Their eldest daughter, Hadia, is set marry which should be a cause for great celebration. However, there is tension in the air as Amar, the youngest sibling and only son, has come back for the wedding after a long estrangement from his family. This is a story that follows the lives of this family as they deal with love, loss, resentment, and regret.This is definitely one of those family sagas in which you see how actions and events from years ago have led to how things currently stand within the family. I liked reading the different perspectives of the family members about key moments that really led each person on their own personal journey and the one as a family. My only criticism of this book is the story did jump around between characters and timelines and in some cases it was difficult at first to figure out at what time period that part of the story was coming from. Eventually, you could figure it out but it made the story feel disjointed sometimes. Culture and religion played a big role in this book and in my opinion it is what makes this story stand out a bit among other family sagas. Each character had traits that you most likely can find among your own family members. I think most of us can relate to always trying to make the right decision but years later coming to the conclusion maybe there was something different that could have been done. Overall, the book is beautifully written and I definitely recommend it.Thank you to First to Read for the advance digital copy! I was under no obligation to post a review and all views expressed are my honest opinion.
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  • Jill Dobbe
    January 1, 1970
    A tiny piece of my heart broke after reading the ending to this story about a Muslim family living in California. Two daughters and a son are born to parents who follow the Islamic religion and ideals. One of the children, however, went through life feeling that he/she didn't belong, ending up following their own path.A story about family, loss, and betrayal, that overcomes the deep love that the members have for one another. Written with emotion and sensitivity, the book takes on issues that ca A tiny piece of my heart broke after reading the ending to this story about a Muslim family living in California. Two daughters and a son are born to parents who follow the Islamic religion and ideals. One of the children, however, went through life feeling that he/she didn't belong, ending up following their own path.A story about family, loss, and betrayal, that overcomes the deep love that the members have for one another. Written with emotion and sensitivity, the book takes on issues that can affect any family of any religion. I enjoyed this book, but found myself skimming pages at the end to find out what happened.Thank you to Net Galley.
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  • Becky
    January 1, 1970
    I would have rated this book a little lower until I got to the final portion written in the fathers perspective.. it was so moving and just made me think of how difficult parenting is and how we just don’t get it right sometimes. The story of this Muslim family and their adjustments to being American was the background of the more prevalent story of how families relate to one another, Amar was the son that just couldn’t fit in with the rest of the family.. he was so adored by his mother and sist I would have rated this book a little lower until I got to the final portion written in the fathers perspective.. it was so moving and just made me think of how difficult parenting is and how we just don’t get it right sometimes. The story of this Muslim family and their adjustments to being American was the background of the more prevalent story of how families relate to one another, Amar was the son that just couldn’t fit in with the rest of the family.. he was so adored by his mother and sisters, and his father was often times hard on him. But finding out his dads real feelings about events that happened throughout the story just felt so familiar.. if we could only go back in time and say the things that went unsaid, love without abandon, change our reactions... being a parent is the hardest job there is. We all just do the best we can and sometimes things don’t turn out as we would have liked them to. I hope this is not the last we will hear from this new author... she has a talent to draw you into the story and “feel all the feels”...
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  • Barbara
    January 1, 1970
    This book really resonated with me and also helped me to understand that some of the things that I thought were idiosyncrasies of my husband and his family (they are from Pakistan) are just completely normal, because I read about them here in this book about an Indian-American Muslim family. I saved whole passages on my phone when I would read about something that was exactly like something that had happened or I had heard or a reaction I've seen. This is a great look inside a Muslim immigrant f This book really resonated with me and also helped me to understand that some of the things that I thought were idiosyncrasies of my husband and his family (they are from Pakistan) are just completely normal, because I read about them here in this book about an Indian-American Muslim family. I saved whole passages on my phone when I would read about something that was exactly like something that had happened or I had heard or a reaction I've seen. This is a great look inside a Muslim immigrant family for anyone not familiar with that.
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  • Kimberly
    January 1, 1970
    An incredible, gut wrenching, and poignant tour de force of a debut novel. A portrait of several members of a Muslim Indian-American family coming to terms with love, faith, disappointment, and loss. The author's command of language and emotion is especially awe-inspiring at such a young age. Even the tiniest bit of frustration with the showy jumping about in the timeline in the second part is overshadowed by the strength of the overall structure and a brilliant, tear-stained coda. Just wow.ARC An incredible, gut wrenching, and poignant tour de force of a debut novel. A portrait of several members of a Muslim Indian-American family coming to terms with love, faith, disappointment, and loss. The author's command of language and emotion is especially awe-inspiring at such a young age. Even the tiniest bit of frustration with the showy jumping about in the timeline in the second part is overshadowed by the strength of the overall structure and a brilliant, tear-stained coda. Just wow.ARC received at PLA conference.
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  • SundayAtDusk
    January 1, 1970
    Someone called this book a family saga. I guess you could call it that. It’s certainly long enough at almost 450 pages. Yet, as sagas go, it’s a pretty slow and uneventful one. Moreover, it was pretty much impossible to get lost in it. At least not lost in a captivating way. There was definitely a possibility of getting lost timeline wise, however, due to the way the story was told; which is in sections that jump back and forth in time. Maybe if I had been able to understand the reasoning behind Someone called this book a family saga. I guess you could call it that. It’s certainly long enough at almost 450 pages. Yet, as sagas go, it’s a pretty slow and uneventful one. Moreover, it was pretty much impossible to get lost in it. At least not lost in a captivating way. There was definitely a possibility of getting lost timeline wise, however, due to the way the story was told; which is in sections that jump back and forth in time. Maybe if I had been able to understand the reasoning behind that fractured way of telling the story, I would have had been more patient at times with the novel. I'm afraid, though, I would sometimes think this novel reminded me of nonfiction memoirs, where the memoirists seem to be entertaining the idea that all readers were going to be incredibly interested in their families. It's not that this Indian-American Muslim family was uninteresting, it's just that the story had no plot. Thus, I sometimes wondered if the time jumping was simply a way of disguising that fact, of trying to make the story seem more complex and interesting than it actually happened to be.Rafiq and Layla are the parents of Hadia, Huda, and Amar. Due to tradition, son Amar is expected to always be a member of the family, whereas his two older sisters are expected to technically become members of their husbands' families when they marry. Hence, Amar is seen as more special than his sisters, and is very much coddled by his mother. Hadia, the oldest, also coddles him at times, but is resentful of him at other times. Huda, the middle child, appears to be the "sensible" one, someone who doesn't get too overly involved in the family drama. She is also the only character in the family who, for some reason, gets no real spotlight on her in the book. Everyone else's voice is clearly heard, their thoughts clearly described, but not Huda’s voice and thoughts. Why is that, I wondered? (Is it possible Fatima Farheen Mirza was the Huda of her family, and now Huda is being heard? Or is the "sensible" one being basically silenced in the story?)The child who gets the most space in the story is Amar, the least interesting one. He is an emotionally needy, self-centered, self-pitying soul; who, even in his 20s, gets angry because others don’t understand him, particularly his father. He sees his sensitivities and suffering as special, his losses more devastating than the losses of others. Hence, it was hard not to feel sympathy for Rafiq throughout the story; since his attempts to make his son become more disciplined and devout, were often seen as emotionally abusive by his wife and oldest daughter. Only in the last part of the story does Rafiq get the full spotlight, and that turned out to be the best part of the novel, with one exception–he spent too much time thinking and talking about Amar. No child should be made the sun of their parents’ lives, or the sun in which their family revolves.By the end of the book, I had no idea if Ms. Mirza was trying to say that or not. Nevertheless, I did reach the conclusion that while she was quite skilled in capturing characters, as well as the moon and stars, she was not that skilled yet at creating a captivating story. It apparently took her eight years to write this novel, but I personally see it as still unfinished. That’s a shame, too, since she cannot use all the material in this story in the future for another book. What she has in this novel is a lot of keen observations of growing up Muslim in California with immigrant parents. But is that enough? Apparently so for many readers. Not for me, though. It’s only been a few days since I finished the story and memories of it are already slipping away, because there is no real story to remember, only characters who are unfortunately not unforgettable.(Note: I received a free ARC of this book from Amazon Vine.)
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  • Nancy
    January 1, 1970
    I recently read an article on the books that Sarah Jessica Parker reads and I was pleasantly surprised to see her reading tastes align exactly with mine. When I saw that Hogarth Press (Penguin) chose A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza for their first publication from their new SJP imprint and was giving away some Advanced Reader copies, I immediately entered my name. I am so glad I won this book. I cannot believe that this is a debut novel. It is so insightful, perceptive and accomplished an I recently read an article on the books that Sarah Jessica Parker reads and I was pleasantly surprised to see her reading tastes align exactly with mine. When I saw that Hogarth Press (Penguin) chose A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza for their first publication from their new SJP imprint and was giving away some Advanced Reader copies, I immediately entered my name. I am so glad I won this book. I cannot believe that this is a debut novel. It is so insightful, perceptive and accomplished and so beautifully written. The story follows the lives of a Muslim Indian family from California. When I first heard about this book, I thought perhaps it would be more about Muslims in America post 9/11. Yes, the family is Muslim and so has social and cultural mores that are unique to them but this is first and foremost about the universality of family. The author beautifully illustrates how every family and every individual family member struggles to find their place in the world, in the community, in the family itself. The story is told from the perspective of each of the five members of the family so we the reader are privy to the secret thoughts, dreams and desires of each. The story does change perspective and time frames from page to page and it did take a while for me to be comfortable with the format but once I did I was wholly invested in this family. I found myself thinking about my own family and my different roles as mother, wife, parent, sister, daughter. I have a feeling I will be thinking about this story for some time to come.
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  • Tamkeen Nus
    January 1, 1970
    A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza is an absolute must-read. The author has you so absorbed in the characters and the story that you won't be able to put it down till you're finished, and you'll be thinking about the characters long after you finish too. She does such a remarkable job of showing different perspectives of faith and love. You become emotionally invested in the characters and their journey. I did not realize how much I needed this book in my life till I finished reading it. It' A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza is an absolute must-read. The author has you so absorbed in the characters and the story that you won't be able to put it down till you're finished, and you'll be thinking about the characters long after you finish too. She does such a remarkable job of showing different perspectives of faith and love. You become emotionally invested in the characters and their journey. I did not realize how much I needed this book in my life till I finished reading it. It's truly a great book, I definitely recommend it!
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  • Betty
    January 1, 1970
    I am amazed that this is Ms. Mirza’s first book. It is beautifully written, describing the family dynamics of a Muslim Indian-American family and their intense desire to remain devout to their religion and continue their cultural traditions here in the US. Just like any family, anywhere, of any faith, the children strive to live up to their parents’ expectations of them, often feeling frustration at the constraints they feel their parents have unfairly put upon them. The story opens with the wed I am amazed that this is Ms. Mirza’s first book. It is beautifully written, describing the family dynamics of a Muslim Indian-American family and their intense desire to remain devout to their religion and continue their cultural traditions here in the US. Just like any family, anywhere, of any faith, the children strive to live up to their parents’ expectations of them, often feeling frustration at the constraints they feel their parents have unfairly put upon them. The story opens with the wedding of the oldest daughter Hadia to Tariq, a modern marriage of love rather than the traditional arranged marriage. On her daughter’s wedding day, mother Layla thinks back to the early days of her arranged marriage with husband Rafiq who was an orphan who moved to America on his own, got a job, and established a good life for himself and his new immigrant wife Layla. They had three children - Hadia, Huda, and Amar. While all three of the children struggle with the decision to follow their parents’ religious and cultural practices or not, Amar finds it especially difficult. He spends his entire life trying to find where he fits in and never truly feels that he belongs anywhere. The book alternates between the characters’ past reflections on life and their current lives. Especially poignant are Layla’s reflections. Hadia muses upon why (in her opinion) Amar was her parents’ favorite child, why it seemed only men were important. I loved her biblical comparisons – “The Prophets and the Imans had been men.” Jonah was special, as was Abraham, Joseph, and Noah. But it was Moses’ sister Miriam who came up with the idea of putting him in a basket to save his life. Just as important were the Pharaoh’s wife who saved made Moses her own, Mary who bore Jesus, the Prophet’s daughter Fatima. Hadia has asked her beloved brother Amar to attend her wedding even though Amar has been estranged from the family for three years. The relationship between Amar and his father has always been especially strained. I enjoyed reading about the religious and cultural practices of the family. As I read I could see many similarities between the Muslim practices and my own Jewish practices. This book is a gives us the gift of looking into another culture with the utmost sensitivity and genuineness. The conflicts encountered, the family conflicts, the feeling of isolation, the heartbreaks – all are portrayed with such compassion for the characters. This is a family you will not soon forget.I received an ARC of this book from BookBrowse.com’s First Impressions program. All opinions are my own.
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  • Kathy
    January 1, 1970
    I received a free digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.There isn't much to add to the deservedly glowing reviews that Mirza's debut novel is garnering. A Place for Us is a beautiful character-driven novel, and while the characters are all complex and realistic, what I find special in this novel is the interactions between these characters. The way the characters speak to one another and what they share with another, and especially the secrets they keep from one another, is what drives th I received a free digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.There isn't much to add to the deservedly glowing reviews that Mirza's debut novel is garnering. A Place for Us is a beautiful character-driven novel, and while the characters are all complex and realistic, what I find special in this novel is the interactions between these characters. The way the characters speak to one another and what they share with another, and especially the secrets they keep from one another, is what drives this novel. Mirza finds beauty in simple moments so that even the mundane, quotidian moments feel important and relevant. I did find the novel long and wished the final book had been condensed a bit. However, this is a stunning book and if this is any reflection of what is to come from the SJP imprint (and from Mirza as well) then I look forward to reading more.
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