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Ask Me No Questions
Deportation. Green Card. Residency. Asylum.
For fourteen-year-old Nadira and eighteen-year-old Aisha, these are the words that define their lives.
Nadira and her family are illegal aliens, fleeing to the Canadian border - running from the country they thought would one day be their home. For years, they have lived on expired visas in New York City, hoping they can realize their dream of becoming legal citizens of the United States. But after 9/11, everything changes. Suddenly, being Muslim means being dangerous. A suspected terrorist. And when Nadira's father is arrested and detained at the border, she and her sister, Aisha are sent back to Queens, and told to carry on, as if everything is the same.
But of course nothing is the same. Nadira and Aisha live in fear they'll have to return to a Bangladesh they hardly know. Aisha, once the academic star, falls apart. Now it's up to Nadira to find a way out.
Ask Me No Questions is a searing portrait of modern America in the days of terrorism, orange alerts, and the Patriot Act. It is a story of two sisters, one of whom must find strength to save her family.
Critically acclaimed author Marina Budhos has written a moving and important story about something most people take for granted--citizenship and acceptance in their country.
"Walk a mile in this family's shoes."
"A perceptive peek into the lives of foreigners on the fringe."
The Professor of Light
The reason we went to England the first summer, the summer I was ten, lay in a long-ago promise. And a long-ago philosopher named Heracleitus.
So begins the journey of Meggie Singh and her father, a charming, befuddled professor of philosophy from the Caribbean. Every summer Meggie and her parents pack up their luggage, leave New York City, and move to the home of Aunt Inez and Uncle Tom in England. There, Professor Singh struggles to write a book that takes on one of the greatest paradoxes to confound thinkers of the twentieth century: the dual nature of light as both particle and wave.
Each chapter in The Professor of Light is a summer spent in England as Meggie moves from childhood to the brink of adulthood and Professor Singh grooms his daughter in a rich mix of philosophy and Indian-Caribbean storytelling. But Professor Singh is haunted by the past: a promise to his family in Guyana; tales of "the jumbee curse." As he pushes further into his philosophical search, Meggie must choose how far her devotion will take her.
Light, both particle and wave, comes to resonate with bigger questions of East and West, identity and immigration, being of a place and moving on.
The Professor of Light is a gripping depiction of the intense bond between a father and a daughter a father who is driven mad in his quest to understand light, and a devoted daughter who risks falling off the edge with him.
"Marina Budhos has written a beautiful book--a story about how some little girls have to eventually grow up ... This is a must-read book, one to be read slowly, savoured to the last page, waiting to fall over the precipice."
"An achingly beautiful narrative that resonates with truth and compassion."
"Haunting and lyrical ... Budhos explores the realms of vision, fantasy, and illogic without losing touch with reality."
Christian Science Monitor
"Even now, when public attention clearly favors the nonfiction memoir, a novel such as The Professor of Light reminds us of the perennial vitality and relevance of the fictional version."
The Women's Review of Books
House of Waiting
House of Waiting tells of Sarah Weissberg, a sheltered Orthodox woman swept into a stormy romance with Roland Singh, a charismatic Indian man from the Caribbean. The two are are drawn together by their passion and shared sense of being outsiders in 1950s America. When Roland leaves Sarah in New York to seek his destiny in a bitter political struggle, Sarah creates her own home with his immigrant friends in upstate New York. There she learns the lessons of waiting and politics. And it is there, finally, that Sarah must decide whether to embark on a dangerous trip to save her marriage and learn the truth about her husband.
Based on actual historical events, House of Waiting is a sensitively drawn tale about exile and love; a struggle against the past to forge a new home.
"Tackling the theme of cultural differences, the author exhibits a rich style and skillful insight into her characters that will enchant readers."
"Budhos' first novel resonates eloquently with the themes of racism, cultural displacement and longings for Utopia ...a subtle lyrical imagination ..."
"House of Waiting is ambitious, covering wide far-reaching issues in a few hundred pages and touching the exiled selves in all of us."
The Literary Review
"House of Waiting is Marina Tamar Budhos' first novel, but it is evident from the beginning that this is the work of a consummate storyteller, adept at characterization and in love with language."
The Caribbean Writer
REMIX: Conversations with Immigrant Teenagers
For the last two and a half years, I have been talking to immigrant teenagers all over the country ... Out of these conversations came a swirl of voices voices that have so much to tell us.
Here, in fourteen intimate conversations, and many short interviews, teenagers from all over the world reveal their most personal struggles and triumphs.
REMIX features Muslim girls from traditional families and Guyanese boys who know every hot new club, Hmong athletes, Russians in Disneyland, Central Americans sustained by community and tempted by gangs, Koreans facing extreme pressures to succeed, and many others.
Filled with insights about American teenage culture and moving stories about the special challenges immigrants face, REMIX shows all the voices of the new America.
"Thanks to the author's warm tone, reading about these teens is like overhearing a conversation between friends; the voices are authentic, and Budhos' observations of everything from bedroom decor to body language are insightful and honest. An affecting, thought-provoking book ... and a dynamic starting point for exploring the rich landscape of the immigrant experience."
Boxed Review, Booklist
"A worthwhile book on a rare topic, it is both easy to read and thought-provoking."
The Professor of Light is available from Barnes and noble.
REMIX: Conversations with Immigrant Teenagers is available from Barnes and noble.