The disappearance of a beloved elder sister has a great and devastating impact on the lives of a Palestinian family living in Chicago. The other sister, Afaf, grows up to be a religious woman - seeking solace with the Muslim community. I thought I knew things got bad for Muslim people after 9/11, but this novel showed me the terrible aftermath on ordinary lives more deeply.
'Forgive your mother. She's not well, habibti.' He places both hands on her shoulders. 'Be merciful to others and you will receive mercy. Forgive others and Allah will forgive you.'
She wants to tell her father to stop preaching to her—that Mama's the one at fault, the one who's ruined their lives. Is there a verse in the Quran that speaks about such losses? Has Baba memorized that one, too? Afaf drops her head, looks away from Baba's watering eyes. Despite her anger, she gives silent du'aa on behalf of Mama. She's doing everything she can to be a good person, and at every turn Mama tries to derail her. Does the loss of a child negate the existence of another? Is Afaf's life not worthy, too?