A bright new voice from Bangladesh, in the literary tradition of Reading Lolita in Tehran and Burnt Shadows, on finding home and self.
One of Maria Chaudhuri's early memories growing up in Dhaka was planning to run away with her friend Nadia. Home was not an especially unhappy place, but in Maria's family, joy was ephemeral. With a mother who yearned for the mountains and the solitariness and freedom to pursue her own dreams and career, and a charismatic but distant father who found it difficult to express emotion, they were never able to hold on to happiness for very long.
Maria studied the Holy Book and said her daily prayers, yet struggled to reconcile her inner self with her faith and her family. She dreamed, like her mother, of unstitching the seam of her life. Her neighbor, Bablu, both excited and repulsed Maria by showing her a yellowing pornographic magazine, but Mala, a girl her own age who came to work in their house, with her wise eyes and wicked smile, made Maria dizzy with longing. When she moved to New England to attend college at eighteen Maria faced new opportunities and challenges, including meeting Yameen, a man who lived in Jersey City and wooed her, but was not what he seemed...
From Dhaka to Jersey City, Beloved Strangers is a candid and moving account of growing up and a meditation on why people leave their homes and why they sometimes find it difficult to return. This unforgettable memoir will resonate with anyone carving out a place for herself in the world, straddling two cultures while trying to find a place to belong.