JanB 's Reviews > A Place for Us

A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza
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it was amazing
bookshelves: arc-from-publisher, traveling-sister-read

This is a beautiful book, both visually and in it's content. It’s a slow burn, a quiet novel with such beautifully expressed thoughts that it would be impossible to read without being deeply affected. I’m in awe that this is a debut novel of a 26-year-old author. Believe all the hype and glowing reviews – this book is deserving of all of it.

The book opens in California with the wedding of Hadia, the eldest of 3 siblings in an Indian-American Muslim family. The estranged brother, Amar, surprisingly attends and stirs up deep-seated complicated family relationships. It is clear something has happened in this family to create a rift, and the reasons are slowly revealed as the story seamlessly toggles back and forth in time, in a non-chronological order. The reader wanders through the memories of this family as we experience them through various points of view. Each memory, each perspective, gives us more insight.

The last 100 or so pages are devoted to a first-person account from Rafiq, the father, and they are riveting. Reading this section tore my heart out and stomped on it, not in a manipulative way, but in a contemplative way. It’s been a long time since a book affected me this deeply.

Although an Indian Muslim family is at its center, there’s such a universality to Mizra’s writing that each reader will find it relatable in some way. Some of the themes include family dynamics, unmet expectations, betrayal, forgiveness, and acceptance. Also explored are the seemingly small, inconsequential decisions that are made every day but which have the power to create a devastasting ripple effect through the decades. It’s about bridging the gap between tradition and the modern world, and the children’s struggle to find a place in the family, in their home, and in the world. The author explores all of these themes with a tenderness and compassion that is extraordinary.

This debut of 26-year-old Mirza is the first book from Sarah Jessica Parker's imprint at Hogarth. I can’t wait to see what the author and the imprint publishes next.

*I read this book with the Traveling Sisters group, and it inspired deep discussions. This would make an excellent book club selection. 

For the review of this book and others please visit https://twosisterslostinacoulee.com

*I received both an e-galley and a print copy from the publisher. Thanks to Netgalley, SJP for Hogarth, the author Fatima Farheen Mirza, and Penguin Random House for providing the ARCs in exchange for an honest review
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Reading Progress

April 6, 2018 – Shelved
April 6, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
May 29, 2018 – Started Reading
May 29, 2018 – Shelved as: traveling-sister-read
May 29, 2018 – Shelved as: arc-from-publisher
May 29, 2018 –
page 50
12.99% "I’m only on page 50 but loving the writing. Hard to believe the author is so young - wow!"
June 11, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-50 of 66 (66 new)


message 1: by Deanna (new)

Deanna I've been seeing this everywhere. I'm glad you are enjoying it so far!


JanB Thanks Deanna, I took a 2 week break from reading while traveling but will finish it on a flight home on Tuesday. It’s very well done!


Kaceey Wonderful review Jan! Loved reading this with you!:-)


message 4: by Brandice (new) - added it

Brandice Great review, Jan! I did not know Mirza is only 26. I have seen nothing but praise for this one and look forward to reading it soon.


Kristin (KC) - Traveling Sister Such a fantastic review, Jan! Loved experiencing this with you 😊


Susanne  Strong Brilliant review Jan! I so loved reading this book with you and the rest of our sisters! Definitely one of my favorite reads with all of you. :)


JanB Susanne wrote: "Brilliant review Jan! I so loved reading this book with you and the rest of our sisters! Definitely one of my favorite reads with all of you. :)"

Thanks so much Susanne! 😘 I'm only sorry my trip interfered with my full participation in the fantastic discussions - this book will definitely go on the favorites list as a top sister read!

Kristin (KC) - Traveling Sister wrote: "Such a fantastic review, Jan! Loved experiencing this with you 😊"

Thanks Kristin, what a wonderful sister read for sure!! ❤️ I loved reading your thoughts and insights in the discussion!

Brandice wrote: "Great review, Jan! I did not know Mirza is only 26. I have seen nothing but praise for this one and look forward to reading it soon."

Thanks Brandice, this author must be a wise old soul in a young body - just brilliant. I can't wait to read your thoughts when you finish!

Kaceey - Traveling Sister wrote: "Wonderful review Jan! Loved reading this with you!:-)"

Thank you Kaceey! It was certainly a highlight for our group and I'm glad I was a small part of it.


message 8: by Diane (new)

Diane Wallace Great review, Jan!


JanB Diane wrote: "Great review, Jan!"

Thanks so much Diane!


Karen Wonderful review Jan, so happy that we all 😍


Lindsay - Traveling Sister Beautiful review Jan! So glad we all loved this one! 😊💜


message 12: by Svetlana (new) - added it

Svetlana wonderful review Jan!! 😊


message 13: by Fran (new)

Fran Excellent review, Jan!


Marialyce Such a super review, Jan!


Brenda -Traveling Sister Excellent review, Jan!


Meredith B.  (readingwithmere) Great review, Jan!


Mackenzie - PhDiva Books Wonderful review, Jan!! I loved hearing your thoughts about this as we read it together! You captured so many great quotes :)


Angela M Excellent review, Jan . I’m reading this now and I’m loving it !


message 19: by Jaline (new) - added it

Jaline Fabulous review, Jan! This is one I want to read as soon as I can get it!


Norma * Traveling Sister and proud Grandma!!! Fabulous review, Jan! Thank you so much for taking all those great photos. I loved them! 💕


JanB Svetlana wrote: "wonderful review Jan!! 😊"

Thanks so much Svetlana!

Lindsay - Traveling Sister wrote: "Beautiful review Jan! So glad we all loved this one! 😊💜"

Thanks so much Lindsay, I love it when we all enjoy the book and the discussions are so deep

Karen wrote: "Wonderful review Jan, so happy that we all 😍"

Karen, thank you, I'm glad too! Great book!


message 22: by Deanna (new)

Deanna Fantastic review!! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. <3


JanB Meredith wrote: "Great review, Jan!"

Thanks Meredith!

Brenda - Traveling Sister wrote: "Excellent review, Jan!"

Thanks Brenda, such an excellent sister read! 💕

Marialyce wrote: "Such a super review, Jan!"

Thank you Marialyce!

Fran wrote: "Excellent review, Jan!"

Thanks Fran!


JanB Mackenzie - Traveling Sister wrote: "Wonderful review, Jan!! I loved hearing your thoughts about this as we read it together! You captured so many great quotes :)"

Mackenzie, thank you so much. I enjoyed reading with you too and loved your insights and thoughts on this book - such a great discussion.


JanB Angela M wrote: "Excellent review, Jan . I’m reading this now and I’m loving it !"

Angela, wonderful! I will be on the lookout for your review!


JanB Jaline wrote: "Fabulous review, Jan! This is one I want to read as soon as I can get it!"

Jaline, thank you so much. I hope you can get hold of a copy soon, I'm pretty sure you will love it too!


JanB Norma * Traveling Sister wrote: "Fabulous review, Jan! Thank you so much for taking all those great photos. I loved them! 💕"

Norma, thanks! I got some pretty funny looks from people walking by...hehe. I did peter out toward the end of the trip though 😬 I will try and post some on IG soon!


JanB Deanna wrote: "Fantastic review!! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. <3"

Thank you so much Deanna! 😊


Kendall Fabulous review Jan!!! I’m so glad to see we all loved this 💙🌻.


message 30: by Candi (new) - added it

Candi A lovely review, Jan!


JanB Kendall wrote: "Fabulous review Jan!!! I’m so glad to see we all loved this 💙🌻."

Kendall, thanks and me too - you know a book is good when everyone enjoys it so much! ❤️


JanB Candi wrote: "A lovely review, Jan!"

Thank you so much Candi! 😊


message 33: by Dana (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dana Beautiful review, Jan! It was such a terrific book and discussion! 💕


Alecia What a great review, Jan! I will put this on my list.


JanB Dana wrote: "Beautiful review, Jan! It was such a terrific book and discussion! 💕"

Thanks Dana, yes it was!


JanB Alecia wrote: "What a great review, Jan! I will put this on my list."

Thanks Alecia, I think you'd really like this one!


message 37: by Michelle (new) - added it

Michelle Lovely review, Jan! :) I am really looking forward to this one.


JanB Michelle wrote: "Lovely review, Jan! :) I am really looking forward to this one."

Thanks so much Michelle. I'll look forward to your thoughts on it - I hope you love it too!


Elyse  Walters Terrific review Jan!!! 📚🌈🌻


Mary Beth *Traveling Sister* Wonderful review, Jan! This was a fantastic sister read.


JanB Elyse wrote: "Terrific review Jan!!! 📚🌈🌻"

Thanks Elyse, yes another book we both loved! ❤️


JanB Mary Beth *Traveling Sister* wrote: "Wonderful review, Jan! This was a fantastic sister read."

Thanks Mary, yes it was such an excellent read with the group!


Debbie I love your review. It’s way better than the book! Because guess what? I am not loving this book! So it IS possible not to be affected by it, lol. Boy do I feel weird! Everyone is raving about it. All 5-star reviews! I’m at 20% and it’s slow going. Sigh. No fun to be the sole outlier!


JanB Debbie wrote: "I love your review. It’s way better than the book! Because guess what? I am not loving this book! So it IS possible not to be affected by it, lol. Boy do I feel weird! Everyone is raving about it. ..."

Debbie, haha!! I guess I should edit my review. Sorry you aren't enjoying it but hey, we can't all like the same things. I'm just glad I'm not the outlier this time. I just finished An American Marriage which everyone is gushing over and I felt meh. The outlier club is no fun. I hope your next one is stellar!


Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader Stunning review, Jan! Your last paragraph is a masterpiece, and I felt many of those things- the universality in the experiences of the family and the ripple effect of the small decisions lasting decades- perfectly worded by you! What a moving reading experience this was. The best!


JanB Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader & Traveling Sister wrote: "Stunning review, Jan! Your last paragraph is a masterpiece, and I felt many of those things- the universality in the experiences of the family and the ripple effect of the small decisions lasting d..."

Thank you for your kind words Jennifer! I'm so glad we all enjoyed this book so much and we were all so moved. Such a great sister read!


message 47: by Victoria (new) - added it

Victoria It really speaks to the universality of this book that after reading so many of the reviews there is still something to glean from each one. I love the introspection you brought to it, extraordinary.


Debbie JanB wrote: "Debbie wrote: "I love your review. It’s way better than the book! Because guess what? I am not loving this book! So it IS possible not to be affected by it, lol. Boy do I feel weird! Everyone is ra..."

And of course, I’m one of the ones who loved American Marriage. I should qualify my comment. I don’t hate A Place for Us—far from it. It’s a meh. But it does seem that as I go on, I’m liking it better. Lots of great little observations. I just don’t love the characters or the quiet style.


JanB Victoria wrote: "It really speaks to the universality of this book that after reading so many of the reviews there is still something to glean from each one. I love the introspection you brought to it, extraordinary."

Thanks Victoria, thank you :-) I really think that is the strength of the book. I'd be very interested in your thoughts if you read it.


JanB Debbie wrote: "JanB wrote: "Debbie wrote: "I love your review. It’s way better than the book! Because guess what? I am not loving this book! So it IS possible not to be affected by it, lol. Boy do I feel weird! E..."

Debbie, it is definitely a quiet style and you have to either like that style and be in the mood for it. So you haven't given up yet and I will definitely be interested in your thoughts when and if you finish.


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