A grieving mother clutching a dead bird, a jealous lover watching his house burn to the ground, a vision of God in a chicken coop. Through twelve short stories that span the private loneliness of Pakistani bedrooms to the banality of the modern American kitchen, Lovebirds shows love cracking and shattering and exploding. Capturing families on the precipice of unraveling as they reckon with the unspeakable realities of any given Wednesday, Hananah Zaheer surveys the complex fringes of desire, asking What are we willing to lose for one another? Let this book set you on fire. Then revisit and rebuild. It will feel good, like practice.
“The stories in Hananah Zaheer’s Lovebirds are full of hard edges and delicate centers, with a compressed form that brilliantly echoes the physical, mental, and spiritual cages that trap its characters. From Pakistan, to America, to an apocalyptic, coal-choked Anywhere, these stories show the cost of being unstuck, depicting with great compassion women’s complicated relationships with violence. Written with unflinching detail and tension, Lovebirds was a book I had to set down at times in order to catch my breath, only to pick it right back up because I already missed reading it.”
—Simon Han, author of Nights When Nothing Happened
“When I think of the term ‘lovebirds,’ it invokes a sickly-sweet kind of sentimentality—but the stories in this collection are anything but that. There is a wise darkness in Hananah Zaheer’s writing, a sweeping away of innocence, a slow wake to violence or regret. Reading these stories, you feel like Zaheer can masterfully flit into the minds of all of us—lovers, dreamers, mothers, husbands, survivors, killers—and expose the frantically beating heart in our underbelly.”
—Tara Laskowski, author of One Night Gone