Ahmed will discuss his dazzling, operatic debut novel following three generations of a Muslim Indian family confronted with a nation on the brink of change with author Ru Freeman in this virtual event. Presented in partnership with Yaddo and Narrative 4.
This beautifully intimate family story spans decades and continents. Narrated by a baby boy at the moment of his birth, this novel follows an attempted reconciliation between two immigrant sisters (his mother and aunt) and their mother (his grandmother.) Love, jealousy, displacement, faith, politics, and betrayal all echo through the absolutely gorgeous prose. — Reviewed by Rachel Person
A BEST BOOK OF THE MONTH: ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY, THE WASHINGTON POST, TIME, OPRAH DAILY, AND NYLON
In the last weeks of her pregnancy, a Muslim Indian lesbian living in San Francisco receives a visit from her estranged mother and sister that surfaces long held secrets and betrayals in this "sweeping family saga . . . with the beautiful specificity of real lives lived, loved, and fought for" (Entertainment Weekly).
Working as a consultant for Kamala Harris’s attorney general campaign in Obama-era San Francisco, Seema has constructed a successful life for herself in the West, despite still struggling with her father’s long-ago decision to exile her from the family after she came out as lesbian. Now, nine months pregnant and estranged from the Black father of her unborn son, Seema seeks solace in the company of those she once thought lost to her: her ailing mother, Nafeesa, traveling alone to California from Chennai, and her devoutly religious sister, Tahera, a doctor living in Texas with her husband and children.
But instead of a joyful reconciliation anticipating the birth of a child, the events of this fateful week unearth years of betrayal, misunderstanding, and complicated layers of love—a tapestry of emotions as riveting and disparate as the era itself.
Told from the point of view of Seema’s child at the moment of his birth, and infused with the poetry of Wordsworth and Keats and verses from the Quran, Radiant Fugitives is a moving tale of a family and a country grappling with acceptance, forgiveness, and enduring love.
NAWAAZ AHMED was born in Tamil Nadu, India. Before turning to writing, he was a computer scientist, researching search algorithms for Yahoo. He holds an MFA from University of Michigan–Ann Arbor and is the winner of several Hopwood Awards. He is the recipient of residencies at MacDowell, Yaddo, Djerassi, and VCCA. He’s also a Kundiman and Lambda Literary Fellow. He currently lives in Brooklyn.
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