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In this insightful, intimate narrative, Pakistani-born Arissa Illahi moves to New York City to be with her husband, who had taken a job at the World Trade Center's Windows on the World restaurant to allow time for completing his novel. He perishes when the towers collapse, and Arissa nearly crumples herself as she struggles with tremendous grief, a troublesome pregnancy, and the various trials she faces as a Muslim when others ignorantly associate her with the terrorists. Abdullah excels at examining the complexity of moving on after this historical event, especially from Arissa's unique perspective as a writer and artist struggling to rear a child with special needs. But this debut novel deals with more than just survival in the aftermath of 9/11, also examining the nature of motherhood by juxtaposing Arissa's supportive mother-in-law and less than maternal mother. Like Abdullah's story collection, Beyond the Cayenne Wall, this work provides a remarkable, inevitably hopeful glimpse into the daily life of Muslim woman living in America. Highly recommended.
—Faye A. Chadwell