“We have read numerous stories in the mainstream media about the widows of 9/11. Not so many about the Muslim victims. In her novel Saffron Dreams, Austin-based Pakistani-American author Shaila Abdullah fills a void in that literature by providing the perspective of a pregnant Pakistani woman, Arissa, who loses her husband–a writer with a masters in literature who worked as a waiter in the Windows on the World restaurant–on September 11.
I read this novel just after I’d wrapped my writing of a curriculum guide for an oral history of Muslim youth in New York City, This Is Where I Need To Be, which was published by Teachers College’s Student Press Initiative. It would make a wonderful read for both a young adult and adult audience interested in further exploring the ways in which America’s Muslim population experienced 9/11. Intertwined with flashbacks to Arissa’s childhood in Pakistan, this novel provides a valuable insight into secular, upper middle class Pakistani society. A much-needed perspective in the void of the American Muslim experience, it is an unflinching and moving look at the societal pressures of widowhood, the role that art can play in the healing process, and the impact of media bias and stereotyping on the Muslim American community in the aftermath of the 2001 terrorist attacks.”
Read the full review and the interview