4 February 2021
My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book
Modern-day New York, a subway train. David, an American-Jewish jazz musician, torn between his dreams and his parents' expectations, sees a woman across the carriage. Ameena, a British-Pakistani artist who left Manchester to escape the pressure from her conservative family, sees David. When a moment of sublime beauty occurs unexpectedly, the two connect, moved by their shared experience. From this flows a love that it appears will triumph above all. But as David and Ameena navigate their relationship, their ambitions and the city they love, they discover the external world is not so easy to keep at bay. Ami Rao's masterful debut novel picks apart the lives of two people, stripping them of their collective identities and, in doing so, facing up to the challenge of today: can love give us the freedom to accept our differences?
📖 My thoughts..
Quite by chance David and Ameena meet on a New York subway, their connection is instant and the two find a connective bond which transcends their different cultures for Ameena is a British- Pakistani who grew up in Manchester, England, whilst David comes from an American Jewish background. These two cultures come together in a thoughtful and introspective look at different lives which are brought together by love.
At first, I thought there was something of a hesitancy to the story, which, for me, took a while to get going, but once I had the characters firmly placed in my head and could visualise both David and Ameena, I settled into the story and started to feel more comfortable with it. I especially enjoyed how the author interspersed details of Ameena's family back in England and showed the difficulties they faced from racial prejudice, however, as we know, intolerance is not confined to just one place and both David and Ameena have to face their own dilemmas which are both cultural, and personal.
David and Ameena, whilst quietly reflective about culture and romance, also brings to life the fascinating world of art and jazz. All in all, an interesting debut by an emerging new author.
About the Author
Ami Rao is a British-American writer. Born in Calcutta, India, Ami has lived and worked in New York, London, Paris, San Francisco and Los Angeles. She has a BA in English Literature and Economics from Ohio Wesleyan University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. In 2017 she co-authored the sports memoir Centaur with Declan Murphy, published by Doubleday, which was awarded the General Outstanding Sports Book of the Year Award and shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year 2017. Ami most recently worked as a banking professional in London. She has mentored girls of colour for the past twelve years, with a keen emphasis on the merits of reading and education. David and Ameena is her debut fiction novel.
David and Ameena is published on the 4 February by Fairlight Books and is available to buy from all good book retailers.