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Shah's debut gets off to a slow start, but patient readers will be rewarded by this richly textured drama. Londoners Anna and Tobias's daughter Freya is born with cerebral palsy, greatly complicating their dream of moving to Provence, France, to open a restaurant and compose music. Deeply conflicted, Anna and Tobias make a mad grab at happiness and buy a crumbling farmhouse in Languedoc. There, they care for Freya in a landscape of extremes, with neighbors to match, including Lizzy, a free-spirited American teenager; Ludovic, the tenant farmer who dwells on the French Resistance; Julien, living off the grid in a tree house; and Yvonne, the cafe owner who makes delicious sausages. Mysterious newcomer Kerim arrives to fix up the rundown property, and Anna's mother comes to stay, rounding out the ragtag family. As Freya's health declines steeply, Anna feels herself drifting apart from Tobias, each of them enclosed in a private sphere of misery until disaster strikes, forcing exhausted Anna to either accept her new imperfect life or leave to start anew. Portraying the complexities of marriage, motherhood, family, and life in a strange land, Shah (director of Death in Gaza, a documentary film) combines tragedy and humor into a satisfying tale of love, heartbreak, and transformation. Agent: Patrick Walsh, Conville & Walsh (U.K.). (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Portraying the complexities of marriage, motherhood, family, and life in a strange land, Shah...combines tragedy and humor into a satisfying tale of love, heartbreak, and transformation.--Publishers Weekly While I'm tempted to call THE MOUSE-PROOF KITCHEN an unflinching depiction of parenthood, that wouldn't be right. It flinches plenty, just as it weeps, laughs, rages, despairs, and sings for joy--all in the most pitch-perfect, radiant prose. Read it. Just read it. --Marisa de los Santos "New York Times bestselling author of Love Walked In, Belong to Me, and Falling Together "