Sarah Jessica Parker has been planning her launch into the book world for a while now, and tomorrow marks the first official day of her imprint, SJP for Hogarth. The publishing company will debut with a first-time author who is set to do her own taking-by-storm of the literary world.
A Place For Us, by Fatima Farheen Mirza, is what can only be described as an epic: It tells of an Indian family living in America, that comes together on the occasion of a family wedding and is forced to confront the cultural gap between generations. It was partly inspired by the author’s own reckoning with her family’s traditions, and seeks to find out what it truly means to be a multinational family in today’s world.
Gum Wrapper, page 52
That evening, she sits in the living room armchair and runs her finger over half of the silver gum wrapper in her hand. The other half is taped to the ceiling above her bed, the interior inside out, so the white blends with the ceiling paint, unnoticed. On it, she had drawn a small strawberry. Most days even she would not notice it there, but there it would be.
“I come back again and again to this secret, hidden in plain sight. The quiet articulation of Hadia’s affection — so innocent, so purposeful — is familiar to all who have been young in love. The added illustration of the strawberry makes a connection between Hadia and Abbas that she cannot make in her life and her future. I find this passage so tender, and deeply touching.” — Sarah Jessica Parker
Ice Cream, page 154
His favorite ice cream flavor was always stocked in the fridge; if Hadia helped unload the groceries and saw a pistachio and almond carton, she reminded Baba that Amar was the only one of them who ate that flavor.
“It’s interesting what follows this moment. Hadia’s small comment to her family about Amar being the only pistachio fan is one of the small details that returns later in the novel, to devastating effect.” — Sarah Jessica Parker
Campaign, page 66
So when she wakes the next morning to see pamphlets with facts and testimonials slipped under their doors, and posters taped all over the home, she is surprised. While the rest of them slept, Amar had taken a stack of Baba’s good printer paper and begun his campaign. By midday, a petition circulates, five blank spaces under the line: WE, THE PEOPLE OF OUR HOUSE, BELIEVE AMAR DESERVES THE SHOES, everyone signing their name except Baba. Mumma asks Amar to come to lunch and Amar shouts from upstairs that he is protesting peacefully, and that means he will not eat, and Hadia is sent with a plate that she sets by his door. An hour later, it is found empty in the sink.
“Amar’s protest for the shoes was inspired by my yearly campaign for a cat. I tried everything to convince my parents to let me have one: power point presentations, drawings of mice taped throughout the house with the caption, ‘Do you want this in your house?,’ going on strike with my brothers, delivering speeches, and having family members sign petitions. In my final year of high school I told my brothers to pretend that we had a cat in the room with us whenever our parents entered — we pet air, we spoke to nothing — and they finally relented, and we drove that day to the shelter and adopted our cat, Kiara.” — Fatima Farheen Mirza