Title: The Magic Carpet
Author: Jessica Norrie
Published on: 22nd June 2019
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Teresa and her daughter, Sky
Mr Chan and his son, Nathan
Safiya and her daughter, Xoriyo
Alka, her brother Sunil, her mum and dad, and her Nana and Nani (maternal grandparents)
Mandeep, his Bibi (paternal grandmother), brother Gurdeep, dad and mum, and grandfather
The Magic Carpet is truly a magical story about five families and how they find themselves woven into each other’s lives. The children are asked to enact for a school play – creativity is allowed.
Safiya is a single mother. She’s seen and suffered a lot since childhood. FGM and whatnot, but she doesn’t want her beloved daughter Xoriyo to go through the same. Away from the Somali community in London, Safiya has a hard time adjusting in the new place but she’s doing what’s best for her daughter.
Born in Hong Kong and brought up in the UK, Mr Chan is a widower. He’s emotionally distant from his only child – Nathan. Nathan is adamant that he wants the pretty Alka as his daughter in the play. Mr Chan doesn’t understand the fuss behind a silly school play.
Teresa is still recovering from a traumatic divorce. She also has some low self-esteem issues. Her daughter Sky is a drama queen – quite literally because her acting skills are well appreciated at school.
Alka seems to understand that something is wrong at home. Her mum’s injured and her daddy isn’t at home. Her Nana and Nani have come over. Her mum’s face is bruised and Alka doesn’t like to go near her. She might be still a child, but her emotional turmoil seems to keep her distant from her friends.
Mandeep’s Bibi has a tough time settling down in a foreign country. She doesn’t understand English and is sometimes ignored at home for the same reason. As her grandson talks to her about the school play and how he’s decided to cast her as the main character, she feels happy.
I have given a gist of the characters and their role in this story. Many issues are highlighted in this book – female genital mutilation, divorce and depression, domestic violence, racism, feeling left out in a foreign country and much more. At the same time, Jessica has also done an excellent job in showing how these families, in spite of their hardships, find happiness in small things. And as the story ends, the reader will be left in tears for sure.
I absolutely loved the story. Every character gets to tell their share of the story. The single parents and their dilemmas, the kids of the single parents and how they cope up with it, families and their troubles and much more. Every emotion, every thought is excellently described in the story. I highly recommend you to read this book.