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InstaReview: A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza

"What was it about an apology that was so difficult? It always felt like it cost something personal and precious. Only now that she was a mother was she so aware of this: the stubbornness and pride that came with being human, the desire to be loyal and generous that came too, each impulse at odds with the other."

Family sagas are our jam, and this one was no exception. A Place For Us follows the story of an Indian-Muslim family living in California and the push/pull of family ties, weaving through multiple perspectives, time periods, and locations to give us insight into the formative experiences that shape the characters. Mirza clearly has a deep empathy for her characters, even when they are flawed (perhaps especially when they are flawed!) and revels in the intimate details of everyday life. This made the book a slow start at first, but as everything started to connect the book blossomed into a richly layered family portrait that explores the conflict between culture, tradition, and family. Where do you fit when you have love for your family but feel alienated by their culture? How do you make space for your children to grow in different directions from you? The novel examines these questions and more, without coming to any simple or pat answers, and left more than one of us crying by the end. Although this book has already gotten plenty of rave reviews, we honestly weren't expecting to like it as much as we did, but it got to us all in the end. 5 stars from #owcbookrecs.


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