A bit underneath a 12 months in the past I learn Huma Qureshi’s quick story assortment Issues We Do Not Inform the Folks We Love, having fun with it a lot I jumped on the likelihood to overview her first novel. Lots of Qureshi’s tales discover household and relationship dynamics, a perennially fascinating theme for me, as does Enjoying Video games which follows Mira and Hanna, sisters two years aside, who misplaced their mom simply as they have been starting to seek out their locations on the planet.
That is the best way they’re with one another; it’s a dance they do. They love one another, annoy each other till they hate one another after which really feel dangerous about it and they also fake like nothing ever occurred, begin once more, and love one another throughout.
Hana is the eldest, a profitable divorce lawyer, perfectionist and controlling, whose marriage to the easy-going Samir is commonly scratchy, quarrels swept underneath the carpet unaddressed. Mira dropped out of her diploma when their mom died a decade in the past, now working in a espresso store watching the clock tick all the way down to the deadline for a prestigious playwriting prize she hopes to enter. She’s stalled: her thought failing to take form regardless of the encouragement of her trainer. Hana is the lynchpin of Mira’s life, offering a spot to remain over when wanted and groceries to take dwelling however unable to speak to her sister about their mom and her loss, ensuring to maintain her protecting carapace intact. Nothing deflects Hana from her life plan till her assumption that Samir shares her willpower to have youngsters is challenged scary a disaster. When Mira overhears an alternate between the couple she shouldn’t, an thought for her play is sparked. A 12 months later issues look very completely different for each Hana and Mira.
It’s by no means occurred to Mira earlier than, how fascinating it’s to look at her sibling as a author would, to note her quirks as character particulars.
Qureshi shifts her narrative easily between the 2 siblings, Mira’s precarious lifestyle contrasting together with her sister’s tight management. Hana’s lack of ability to acknowledge grief, burying of feelings and willpower to maintain management of every thing, not possible as that’s, are heartrending at instances a counterpoint to Mira’s blossoming confidence. Alongside their relationship, Qureshi perceptively explores mismatched expectations in a wedding the place communication is subsequent to non-existent. Her theme of writers’ use of household and pals of their fiction prompted me to surprise how a lot she may need executed this herself, though she’s cautious to level out in her acknowledgements Mira and Hana bear no resemblance to her personal siblings. I loved Qureshi’s novel though not fairly as a lot as her quick story assortment which missed my books of 2022 by a squeak.
Sceptre Books: London 9781529368741 320 pages Hardback (learn through NetGalley)