How We Met: A Memoir of Love and Other Misadventures
By: Huma Qureshi
A Stylist pick for best new non-fiction for 2021
“A beautiful, refreshing and honest memoir about family, love, inheritance and loss” – Nikesh Shukla, author of Brown Baby
“A sweet, touching memoir about family, faith and love. There’s a purity and simplicity to Huma’s writing, as she attempts to reconcile the sprawling weight of expectation with her own desire for a contained but free life. But what does a life on her own terms look like? What even are her own terms? A consolation to others who have trod this very path, enlightening for those of us who haven’t, you’ll be rooting for not just Huma, but for everyone she loves too.” – Pandora Sykes
You can’t choose who you fall in love with, they say.
If only it were that simple.
Growing up in Walsall in the 1990s, Huma straddled two worlds – school and teenage crushes in one, and the expectations and unwritten rules of her family’s south Asian social circle in the other. Reconciling the two was sometimes a tightrope act, but she managed it. Until it came to marriage.
Caught between her family’s concern to see her safely settled down with someone suitable, her own appetite for adventure and a hopeless devotion to romance honed from Georgette Heyer, she seeks temporary refuge in Paris and imagines a future full of possibility. And then her father has a stroke and everything changes.
As Huma learns to focus on herself she begins to realise that searching for a suitor has been masking everything that was wrong in her life: grief for her father, the weight of expectation, and her uncertainty about who she really is. Marriage – arranged or otherwise – can’t be the all-consuming purpose of her life. And then she meets someone. Neither Pakistani nor Muslim nor brown, and therefore technically not suitable at all. When your worlds collide, how do you measure one love against another?
As much as it is about love, How We Met is also about falling out with and misunderstanding each other, and how sometimes even our closest relationships can feel so far away. Warm, wise and ultimately uplifting, this is a coming-of-age story about what it really means to find ‘happy ever after’.
“This beautiful, romantic memoir grabs you from the first page and won’t let you go. Told with heart, wit and quiet restraint, How We Met is the story of how we can transcend the expectations of others and arrange our own happiness in life and in love.” – Viv Groskop
“A gentle memoir by a romantic journalist… at a time when public discussion about race and culture is often shrill and self-righteous, at once accusatory and defensive, full of ologies and phobias, the quiet tone of her book – to say nothing of its guarded optimism – is almost shocking.”
- The Guardian
“This brief-but-wonderful book is a testament to Qureshi’s writing. Tackling the true story of how she and her then-non Muslim husband came to be is also a tale of love for her family, parents, heritage, religion and her own self-belief. A Georgette Heyer addict, Qureshi wasn’t against finding love via an arranged marriage but – as a journalist who stole herself off to live quietly in Paris for a year – nothing seemed to take (especially given one particular suitor and his mother) until she fell for Richard. A tale of patience, tenderness and love that’ll add sunshine to your year.”
‘I devoured this brilliant memoir! A beautiful coming of age story, with a focus on love and questioning where matrimony fits into her life… Huma’s voice is effortless, beautiful, incredibly refreshing and so relatable — a really talented author.’
- Haleh Agar, author of Out of Touch
‘There are the books that touch you. Then there are the books that open out their arms and straight out hug you – How We Met is this second kind of book. Honest, joyful, at times heart-breaking, at times laugh out loud funny, but always generous in its telling… this is Huma Qureshi, heart and soul.’
- Ami Rao, author of David and Ameena
“A fearlessly honest memoir of courage, love and loss, and trying to find your place in the world. Quietly heartbreaking but life-affirming too.”
- Kia Abdullah, author of Take It Back
“This beautiful, romantic memoir grabs you from the first page and won’t let you go. Told with heart, wit and quiet restraint, How We Met is the story of how we can transcend the expectations of others and arrange our own happiness in life and in love.”
- Viv Groskop
“HOW WE MET encompasses the kind of love story you’d expect as well as several you might not: it’s about the love of a couple but also the love of a family. It’s about a love of culture and faith but also a love of finding new paths and of remaking. Huma Qureshi tells the story of her great loves with generosity and tenderness that will grab readers by the heart.”
- Jean Hannah Edelstein, author of This Really Isn't About You
‘How We Met is a wonderful read – a memoir of grief, becoming and true love. Huma Qureshi is a writer with a sharp eye and a romantic heart.’
- Katherine May, author of Wintering
“How We Met is the book I, and countless women of similar heritage, have been waiting our whole lives for. I cried, and laughed out loud as I recognised myself in so much of Huma Qureshi’s story.
The book is about Huma and how she met and married her husband Richard, but it’s more than that, it’s about trying to do ‘the right thing’ in a shifting world, where you are all at once at home, and also somehow alien. It’s about being the child of immigrants, it’s about dreams, about motherhood, and it is about familial love, in its many forms. It’s such a beautiful book of quiet confidence, and deserves to be read widely.
Huma is a huge talent, and a skillfull storyteller with an eye for an exquisite turn of phrase. I’m sure this memoir will be a huge success. It certainly deserves to be.”
- Saima Mir, author of The Khan
‘Every page radiates Huma’s love for her family, for her emerging self, and for the possibilities of a life more fully lived’
- Leah Hazard, author of Hard Pushed: A Midwife's Story
‘It’s a beautiful love story told with grace. I found it painfully relatable and am so glad this book exists, especially for young women currently lacking the blueprint to trust and empower themselves before opening up to love. At once poignant, empathetic and funny.’
- Zeba Talkhani, author of My Past Is A Foreign Country
“I just loved loved loved loved How We Met. A love story about panic, faith, family, duty, living on your own, work, grief and trust. It delves into love and politics in the British South Asian community and left me beaming.”
- Nell Frizzell, author of The Panic Years