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The Groom to Have Beenby Saher Alam
Synopses & Reviews
A love story inspired by The Age of Innocence, about a young man and woman thwarted by tradition and the fears of a world suddenly defined by tragedy
Just as Nasr, a young man with a vibrant professional and social life in New York, begins to prepare for the arranged marriage he hopes will appease his Indian Muslim family and assure him a union as happy as his parents, he starts to suspect that his true love has been within his reach his entire life. Nasr has known Jameela since they were children, and for nearly that long she has flouted the traditions her community holds dear. But now the rebellion that always made her seem dangerous suddenly makes him wonder if she might be his perfect match. Feeling increasingly trapped as his wedding date approaches, Nasr contemplates a drastic escape, but in the wake of 9/11, new fears and old prejudices threaten to stand between him and the promise of happiness. Current in its political themes and classic in its treatment of doomed love, The Groom to Have Been is a graceful and emotionally charged debut.
"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)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Just as Nasr, a young man with a vibrant professional and social life in New York, begins to prepare for the arranged marriage he hopes will appease his Indian-Muslim family, he starts to suspect that his true love has been within his reach his entire life.
About the Author
Saher Alam was born in Lucknow, India, in 1973, and moved to the United States when she was five. She is a graduate of Princeton University and the Creative Writing program at Boston University. She was a fiction fellow at Emory University, and her stories have appeared in Best of the Fiction Workshops and the journal Literary Imagination. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri.
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