In this first novel from Sarah Jessica Parker's new imprint, a wedding reunites an estranged brother from his Indian-Muslim American family, each member of which struggles to balance their various cultural identities.
...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? Possibly, but in a different register. 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.
Mirza's book gets to a universal truth: To be part of a family is to learn how to be more than one person, how to remain an individual while fulfilling the duties we have to those who love us, who made us ... A Place for Us is a stunning novel about love, compassion, cruelty and forgiveness—the very things that make families what they are ... The structure of A Place for Us is unconventional; the novel goes back and forth in time, switching points of view. This isn't the easiest thing to pull off, but Mirza executes it perfectly, creating a constant tension in the narrative that keeps readers turning the pages, but is never cheap or exploitative. And her writing is gorgeous, unadorned but beautiful ... Mirza, 27, writes with more grace and self-confidence than many authors who have been publishing before she was born, and it's going to be fascinating to see what she does next.
Immigrant novels often center on conflict and the juxtaposition between Old World values and modern Western culture. In seeking a better life for their children, Layla and Rafiq must contend with this and the effect it has on their family. A Place for Us resonates at the crossroads of culture, character, storytelling and poignancy.