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A cosmopolitan Indian-Canadian Muslim gets engaged and must deal with complicated feelings for an old friend, in Alam's absorbing debut. After living as a bachelor in New York for several years, Nasr agrees to let his mother arrange a marriage for him, despite concerns raised by childhood friend Jameela. Three years later, an international search leads him to Farah, who he hopes will share his sensibilities about the appropriate balance between tradition and modernity. The attacks of 9/11 disrupt their already complicated harmonizing process. Nasr finds himself having to defend Islam in his financial firm's copy room. Meanwhile, Nasr's relationship with Jameela undergoes changes. The book's epigraph is from Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence, and Alam sets up Nasr as Newland Archer and Jameela as the independent-minded Countess Olenska. (The two even attend a party hosted by a Van der Luyden.) Delicately crafted and multilayered, this moving book shows Alam to be a writer of great promise. (July)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.