When We Were Sisters by Fatimah Asghar
From One World:
LONGLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD • An orphan grapples with gender, siblinghood, family, and coming-of-age as a Muslim in America in this lyrical debut novel that “shimmers with love” (Los Angeles Times), from the acclaimed author of If They Come For Us
“Asghar’s brilliant coming-of-age story is filled with emotionally raw characters and tender prose.”—PopSugar
In this heartrending, lyrical debut work of fiction, Fatimah Asghar traces the intense bond of three orphaned siblings who, after their parents die, are left to raise one another. The youngest, Kausar, grapples with the incomprehensible loss of their parents as she also charts out her own understanding of gender; Aisha, the middle sister, spars with her “crybaby” younger sibling as she desperately tries to hold on to her sense of family in an impossible situation; and Noreen, the eldest, does her best in the role of sister-mother while also trying to create a life for herself, on her own terms.
As Kausar grows up, she must contend with the collision of her private and public worlds, and choose whether to remain in the life of love, sorrow, and codependency that she’s known or carve out a new path for herself. When We Were Sisters tenderly examines the bonds and fractures of sisterhood, names the perils of being three Muslim American girls alone against the world, and ultimately illustrates how those who’ve lost everything might still make homes in one another.
LONGLISTED FOR THE CENTER FOR FICTION FIRST NOVEL PRIZE