Monday, May 11, 2020

The Royal Abduls by Ramiza Shamoun Koya

*Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.

About the book-

Ramiza Shamoun Koya reveals the devastating cost of anti-Muslim sentiment inThe Royal Abduls, her debut novel about an Indian-America family. Evolutionary biologist Amina Abdul accepts a post-doc in Washington, DC, choosing her career studying hybrid zones over a faltering West Coast romance. Her brother and sister-in-law welcome her to the city, but their marriage is crumbling, and they soon rely on her to keep their son company. Omar, hungry to understand his cultural roots, fakes an Indian accent, invents a royal past, and peppers his aunt with questions about their cultural heritage. When he brings an ornamental knife to school, his expulsion triggers a downward spiral for his family, even as Amina struggles to find her own place in an America now at war with people who look like her. WithThe Royal Abduls, Koya ignites the canon of post-9/11 literature with a deft portrait of second-generation American identity.

My thoughts-

This book was an emotional one for sure. Books about life during and right after 9/11 are always difficult and emotional, but this is the first one that I have read from the perspective an Indian family, and I know that is even more difficult. I can never pretend to understand what it was like to be seen as a terrorist just for the color of my skin, but my step dad (who was born and raised in Pakistan) and my husband (who is 1st generation Iranian American) can so I have heard these stories and heartbreaks first hand. The Royal Abduls packs a lot of emotional punches and had some pretty heavy content so it is not for the faint of heart, but for a reader who likes to gain perspective on other people's experiences, this book is for you. I did feel the ending was a little anti climatic and open ended, but the author obviously intended it to be so, I just like my stories to be neatly tied up at the end so I know how things turned out, but overall this was a beautifully written book. 

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