Huma Qureshi’s Things We Don’t Tell The People We Love is a luscious debut novel.

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Huma Qureshi’s Things We Don’t Tell The People We Love is a luscious debut novel.

From feuding mothers and daughters to mismatched lovers, these are lyrical, moving stories about family and intimate relationships.

A woman recalls a teenage crush in “Premonition,” the first and best short story in Huma Qureshi’s lush debut fiction collection.

She recalls falling in love with the son of a family friend when she was 15, and how he made her heart spin “round and round, like a paper windmill.”

Qureshi jerks the story in a darker direction after masterfully conjuring the dizziness of first love: when the narrator finally finds herself alone with her crush, he rough kisses and gropes her, leaving her feeling “shaken, as though you had taken something from me.”

Qureshi has a knack for pulling the rug out from under the reader’s feet.

Her immersive, poignant stories – written mostly in understated prose – often have a sting in the tale, juxtaposing scenes of voluptuous beauty and romance (many of the tales are set during the sweltering heat of a summer vacation) with arguments, misunderstandings, grief, and accidents.

The author, a former journalist, wrote the memoir How We Met earlier this year about defying her Pakistani parents’ expectations and marrying a white British man.

Her new book also deals with personal relationships, ranging from feuding mothers and daughters to mismatched lovers and stale friendships.

Many of the female characters are British-Pakistani, and Qureshi deftly explores the tensions that can arise when two cultures collide.

“The Jam Maker” is about a young girl who resents her mother for uprooting her from her happy childhood home and relocating her to a neighborhood with a larger Asian population.

In “Small Differences,” a young woman named Tasneem is troubled by her boyfriend’s family’s cultural differences while on vacation in Tuscany with his family.

Qureshi uses the theme of cultural dissonance as a springboard to think about the emotional distance between her characters more broadly, and she does so with admirable subtlety.

For example, Tasneem’s story is about how seeing a partner with their family – and realizing how much of their life has been lived without you – can make us wonder how well we truly know those we care about.

The best stories in the book are full of dramatic irony, as Qureshi creates protagonists who have a painful lack of self-awareness.

In my personal preference,

UK news summary from Infosurhoy.

Huma Qureshi’s Things We Don’t Tell The People We Love is a luscious debut novel.

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Things We Do Not Tell The People We Love by Huma Qureshi, review: A luscious debut

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