Above Us the Milky Way (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

Days after hearing Angela Davis, at the memorial for Toni Morrison, tell of her wanting to be driven, late in life, out to the countryside, the night sky, the Milky Way, an early copy of this book with this title came into our hands. The title alone was enough to invite opening. Lo and behold, not only a stunning book for its beauty, but for the stories it carries, speaking to the Milky Way, and more...This is the transporting tale a of a family—five girls, their mother and father, forced to flee their home country under harrowing circumstances. The old land and new are never named, but it's Afghanistan and then southern California, 1980. This book tells the family's story in the most unique, generous-spirited way, carrying wonder and delight in life, but also the weight of loss and bearing horrific news from what was home all the while. This book, with its one perspective and with its many perspectives, is more than coming of age, it's coming into being as an individual and as part of something much larger.

— From Rick


Above Us the Milky Way is a story about war, immigration, and the remarkable human capacity to create beauty out of horror. As a young family attempts to reconstruct their lives in a new and peaceful country, they are daily drawn back to the first land through remembrance and longing, by news of the continued suffering and loss of loved ones, and by the war dead, who have immigrated and reside with them, haunting their days and illuminating the small joys and wonders offered them by the new land.

The novel's structure is built around the alphabet, twenty-six pieces written in the first person that sketch a through-line of memory for the lives of the five daughters, mother, and father. Ghost stories and fairytales are woven with old family photographs and medieval-style watercolor illuminations to create an origin story of loss and remembrance.

About the Author

Fowzia Karimi was born in Kabul, Afghanistan and immigrated with her family to Southern California after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College in Oakland, California, and has illustrated The Brick House by Micheline Aharonian Marcom (Awst Press) and Vagrants and Uncommon Visitors by A. Kendra Greene (Anomalous Press). She is a recipient of The Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Award. She lives in Texas.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781646050024
ISBN-10: 1646050029
Publisher: Deep Vellum Publishing
Publication Date: April 28th, 2020
Pages: 440
Language: English