Sonia Nair

Sonia Nair reviews 'The House of Youssef' by Yumna Kassab

Sonia Nair
Thursday, 24 October 2019

Yumna Kassab has utilised the sparse economy of short stories to craft her début collection, grounding universal diasporic themes such as generational disconnect, cultural loss, and the weight of familial expectations in the distinct Lebanese-Australian social milieu of western Sydney, where she was born and raised.

Short story collections often lack a certain cohesiveness, but Kassab’s characters each move in the same fictional yet exceedingly real world where Muslim Australians – straddling the line between being hyper-visible and invisible – are both demonised and studiously avoided. Characters with the same names recur from time to time, not always the same characters; reading Kassab’s stories requires a meticulous attention to detail to deconstruct and decipher how various individuals relate to one another.

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Sonia Nair reviews 'The Hope Fault' by Tracy Farr

Sonia Nair
Friday, 25 August 2017

The minutiae and messiness of family life as it comes together and unravels time and time again are delicately rendered in Tracy Farr’s second novel, The Hope Fault. The unrelenting rain that forms the lugubrious backdrop for much of the novel conjures up the same rich, atmospheric setting of the late Georgia Blain’s

Set against the milieu of India’s recent emancipation from British rule and the indelible scars left by the country’s 1947 partition with Pakistan, Black British subverts the ...

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Sonia Nair reviews 'Chasing Shadows'

Sonia Nair
Wednesday, 28 May 2014

A multi-generational saga straddling numerous countries and political régimes, Leila Yusaf Chung’s first novel, Chasing Shadows, largely alternates between middle child Ajamia’s viewpoint and her father Abu Fadi’s memories, thus giving an evocative portrait of Middle Eastern life in the late nineteenth century. Abu, a middle-aged Polish-Jewish m ...