I felt intensely grateful for the high level of granular political—now historical—detail in Nawaaz Ahmed’s debut, Radiant Fugitives, a sprawling, compelling novel ... Thanks to Ahmed’s vivid prose and his capacity to write heated dialogue, his dive into late-2000s politics is anything but dull ... Radiant Fugitives is a systems novel, not a domestic one ... His quick point-of-view switches and brusque manner of delivering backstory swiftly make it clear that he is less invested in any one character than in the larger questions he examines through them ... Political fiction, Ahmed seems to realize, has no need to fear granularity or retreat into interiority. Writing down details, as any diary-keeper will tell you, is personal no matter what.
... an expansive family saga enriched by brilliantly wrought characters and a dazzling lyricism ... Ahmed has made the bold and unique decision to frame the novel with Ishraaq, Seema’s unborn son, as its narrator, and the result yields a voice unlike almost any other narrator I’ve encountered. The choice allows Ahmed great flexibility with point of view ... Throughout the novel, Ahmed digs deep into his characters’ memories to enchantingly blend the past and present, while modulating the intricacies of their relationships with care and mastery ... Ahmed writes equally potently of estrangement ... Radiant Fugitives paints a broad portrait, at turns hopeful and despairing, of a family—and a country—testing its capacity for change.
First-time author Nawaaz Ahmed writes the way an impressionist paints. He ensures the scenes unfold before the reader’s eyes ... A bold, sweeping book ... Ahmed’s prose is imaginative and poetic, bringing readers into a week in the life of the Hussein women ... Ahmed accomplishes a rare feat ... Let us hope Ahmed is working on his next book because he is a rare talent, and the memorable ending of Radiant Fugitives is proof of his gift.