Saffron Dreams – Shaila Abdullah

Title: Saffron Dreams
Author: Shaila Abdullah
ISBN: 9781932690736
Pages: 248
Release Date: February 5, 2009
Publisher: Modern History Press
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Multicultural Fiction
Review: Pump Up Your Book Promotion
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

From the back cover:

From the darkest hour of American history emerges a mesmerizing tale of tender love, a life interrupted, and faith recovered. Arissa Illahi, a Muslim artist and writer, discovers in a single moment that no matter how carefully you map your life, it is life itself that chooses your destiny. After her husband’s death in the collapse of the World Trade Center, the discovery of his manuscript marks Arissa’s reconnection to life. Her unborn son and the unfinished novel fuse in her mind into one life-defining project that becomes, at once, the struggle for her emotional survival and the redemption of her race. Saffron Dreams is a novel about our ever evolving identities and the events and places that shape them. It reminds us that in the midst of tragedy, our dreams can become a lasting legacy.

When I first heard about Saffron Dreams, I was really intrigued. The story of a Pakistani Muslim woman who lost her husband in the World Trade Center attacks seemed compelling and timely. Indeed, after reading the book, I am moved at how beautifully and tenderly Ms. Abdullah handled a controversial subject and made the book about our common humanity, rather than about the differences that divide us.

What really struck me about Saffron Dreams is that the 9/11 attacks aren’t the only serious subject addressed in this small novel. Abdullah manages to talk about racism, fundamentalism, widowhood, culture clashes, and the challenges of raising a child with disabilities within its pages. With all those weighty topics, you would think the book would be a heavy read, but surprisingly, it isn’t. Instead, it’s an honest look at the life of a woman trying to live a normal life while chaos is reigning around her.

Despite the seeming lack of hope in Saffron Dreams‘ premise, the book is full of wonder. The novel is never depressing; even in the darkest times, Arissa never seems to lose that hope that the future will be a brighter, happier place. That feeling permeates the novel, leaving the reader with a sense of optimism after the last pages are turned.

Abdullah’s writing is crisp, sharp and clear. She does not mince words; her writing is very precise, each word chosen carefully. Her words have a way of conveying raw emotion; because they are so stark, the feelings are so much more clear and powerful on the page. It’s a wonderful writing style for a novel such as this.

In the end, the message I took away from the novel is that what we, as citizens of this earth, have in common is much greater than all those differences than set us apart from one another. We must look to our common humanity to bring us together. This is a message full of hope and love, much like Saffron Dreams itself.

I thoroughly enjoyed Saffron Dreams and recommend it to anyone interested in multicultural fiction – it’s a great read and you won’t be disappointed. I am eager to pick up Shaila Abdullah’s book of short stories, Beyond the Cayenne Wall.

Thank you to Jaime at Pump Up Your Book Promotion and Ms. Abdullah for sending me this book to review!

Comments

  1. Sounds like a very interesting book!

  2. Sounds like a very interesting book!

  3. Great review! The book sounds quite good.

    What do you think will happen tonight? My gosh, I start anticipating Lost on Tuesday night….I don’t think I’ve ever done that with a tv show before!

  4. Great review! The book sounds quite good.

    What do you think will happen tonight? My gosh, I start anticipating Lost on Tuesday night….I don’t think I’ve ever done that with a tv show before!

  5. Jaime was in charge of this tour so I never got to read it, but I’m really happy to see that throughout the month, Saffron Dreams has gotten excellent reviews. WTG, Shaila! And in Jaimie’s behalf, thank you for hosting her today!

  6. Jaime was in charge of this tour so I never got to read it, but I’m really happy to see that throughout the month, Saffron Dreams has gotten excellent reviews. WTG, Shaila! And in Jaimie’s behalf, thank you for hosting her today!

  7. What a nice review — intriguing. I’d been wondering about this book. Now it’s on my TBR list for sure.

  8. What a nice review — intriguing. I’d been wondering about this book. Now it’s on my TBR list for sure.

  9. Oh, this sounds lovely, it is going on my library requests and on my bookmooch wishlist.

  10. Oh, this sounds lovely, it is going on my library requests and on my bookmooch wishlist.

  11. Thanks for such a great review. I was struck by your accurate observation of the character and the world around her. I will cherish this review for sure. It is done with great tenderness and deep insight of the subject matter.

    I can’t wait to hear your thoughts about Beyond the Cayenne Wall

    Shaila Abdullah
    Saffron Dreams/Beyond the Cayenne Wall
    Website: http://www.shailaabdullah.com
    Blog: http://cayennelit.blogspot.com/

  12. Thanks for such a great review. I was struck by your accurate observation of the character and the world around her. I will cherish this review for sure. It is done with great tenderness and deep insight of the subject matter.

    I can’t wait to hear your thoughts about Beyond the Cayenne Wall

    Shaila Abdullah
    Saffron Dreams/Beyond the Cayenne Wall
    Website: http://www.shailaabdullah.com
    Blog: http://cayennelit.blogspot.com/

  13. Hm, I think I’ll have to buy this one! Thanks for this review.

  14. Hm, I think I’ll have to buy this one! Thanks for this review.

  15. This book sounds wonderful. It sounds like it conveys an important message too. I’m stumbling your review.

  16. This book sounds wonderful. It sounds like it conveys an important message too. I’m stumbling your review.

  17. This book does sound good; I’ve seen it around a bit lately. Definitely one for the wishlist and great review as usual.

  18. This book does sound good; I’ve seen it around a bit lately. Definitely one for the wishlist and great review as usual.

  19. I don’t read that much contemporary fiction, but this sounds really good! I’ll have to give it a try.

  20. I don’t read that much contemporary fiction, but this sounds really good! I’ll have to give it a try.

  21. Sounds really fantastic!!

  22. Sounds really fantastic!!

  23. Great review; this sounds really awesome!

  24. Great review; this sounds really awesome!

  25. Your review is compelling and I’d love to read this story following 9/11. Thanks for hosting.
    Lisa
    Mistyfuji (at) yahoo (dot) com

  26. Your review is compelling and I’d love to read this story following 9/11. Thanks for hosting.
    Lisa
    Mistyfuji (at) yahoo (dot) com

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