Synopsis (via Goodreads):
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. With The Royal Abduls, Ramiza Koya ignites the canon of post-9/11 literature with a deft portrait of second-generation American identity.
Review: I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It had deep running themes of family, identity, and a need for knowledge and understanding. As an aunt, I immediately connected with the character Amina as she gets to know her nephew Omar. It made me miss the children in my life.
This book is told from Amina and Omar’s point of view and alternates back and forth very well. I really enjoyed how Ramiza Koya was able to construct the two narratives to coincide with each other but differ in their child and adult ways. It showed the deeper needs and confusions of each character and situation.
There was lots of heartbreak and emotion poured into this story. Without giving away spoilers, Ramiza Koya was able to drive the wedge of separation amidst a family even deeper. I was not expecting the turn, and it really filled out the book as a whole. (When you read it, you will understand what turns I am talking about and why I can’t give more details!)
What I really loved about this novel was the author’s way of making the reader understand the need for understanding one’s identity and trying to make sense of the world around them. The characters were confused about their culture, love, family, future, and past. My heart went out to all of them and I wanted more than anything for them to be happy.
This book ended without wrapping up some of my biggest questions! It was one of those beautifully constructed and intensely frustrating endings. But it did give me hope for the characters and a desire to define my own identity.
Let me know if you read this and what you think of it!
Buy it on Amazon!