The first title from Sarah Jessica Parker's imprint for Hogarth
I am normally wary of hyped debut novels, but with comparisons made to Anthony Marra’s outstanding A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, I was eager to read Fatima Farheen Mirza’s A Place for Us.
Unlike many reviewers, I was not immediately absorbed by Mirza’s family narrative. The prose itself was strikingly assured for a debut novelist but I struggled to truly engage with the characters, my personal feelings about the entrenched cultural-religious gender bias impacting their lives getting in the way.
Many of the characters’ behaviours/actions are frustrating to an outside observer also. But to Mirza’s credit, her attention to detail and absence of sentimentality in the presentation of the different character viewpoints soon had me seeing past those differences. It is with the nuances of behaviour explored, the family dynamics, and the gravity and impact of what is often left unsaid that I engaged. Continue reading >>