The Retreat

Morrow. Apr. 2023. 352p. ISBN 9780063035003. pap. $18.99. F
Raheem’s second novel (after The Marriage Clock) is heartfelt, well-paced, and engrossing. Thirtysomething optometrist Nadia, married to physician Aman for 10 years, is devastated by the effects infertility treatments have had on their marriage. She craves the romance of their early carefree days, especially when she discovers several clues that cause her to believe that Aman is having an affair. In crisis, she gravitates to sister Zeba with whom she had lost contact following their mother’s death over a year ago. More clues from Aman’s cell phone and a tip from Nadia’s patient point to pretty yoga teacher Lena as Aman’s new love interest. Zeba hatches a zany and ridiculous plan to save her sister’s marriage, involving Nadia befriending Lena at an upcoming yoga retreat and convincing her to break up with Aman. A chance encounter with a bear kicks off a spiraling series of events that lead Nadia to the truth. The book explores themes of infertility, gender roles, sisterhood, the South Asian diaspora, and the experience of children of immigrants.
VERDICT Raheem’s story is lively and funny, and readers will feel like cheering on lovable Nadia as she takes desperate measures to save her marriage and find peace.
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