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Playing Games

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781529368772

Price: £9.99

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‘Radiantly honest’ Mail on Sunday

‘Poignant’ Guardian

‘A gem of a novel’ i

The remarkable debut novel from critically acclaimed writer Huma Qureshi: a poignant story of art and sisterhood, family, marriage and betrayal

Hana is a successful lawyer, with a perfect home and marriage. But she longs to be a mother, and her husband remains hesitant.

Mira, her younger sister, is stuck working at a local café, renting a room from a flatmate she hates. She dreams of a creative life, but just she can’t find the right inspiration.

One night, Mira witnesses an argument between Hana and her husband. Their words spark something in her and she starts typing.

But what stories are ours to tell? And how much can be forgiven?

‘Huma Qureshi writes with wisdom and heart’ Pandora Sykes

‘Warm and moving . . . Playing Games thoughtfully and elegantly considers what it means to be a sister, a mother and a writer’ Chloë Ashby, author of Wet Paint

‘A riveting and evocative tale of two sisters navigating love, loss and desires’ Zeba Talkhani, author of My Past is a Foreign Country


A warm and moving portrait of two women's desires, equally overwhelming, to create art and to become a parent. Playing Games thoughtfully and elegantly considers what it means to be a sister, a mother and a writer, as well as the fine line between truth and fiction and what happens when one brushes up against the other.
Chloë Ashby, author of <i>Wet Paint
A riveting and evocative tale of two sisters navigating love, loss and desires
Zeba Talkhani, author of <i>My Past is a Foreign Country</i>
Playing Games is a poignant story about the complexities and beauty of the bond between sisters. Huma Qureshi lucidly examines the curdled emotions of family and illuminates the inner process of the writer. Reading Qureshi's crystal prose is a rare pleasure. I found Playing Games unputdownable.
Molly Aitken, author of <i>The Island Child</i>
Playing Games is a tender, beautifully nuanced portrayal of sisterhood, of family, love and loss. Huma Qureshi has a rare ability to perfectly capture the details that make up a life, full of raw and real emotion. I adored it.
Sara Nisha Adams, author of <i>The Reading List</i>
I loved Playing Games. Huma Qureshi writes about relationships, whether it is sisterhood or marriage, with such tenderness that it will break your heart. She steers us through Hana and Mira's chaos with compassion and kindness. There were many instances when I wanted to give the sisters a huge hug, but at the same time, I wanted to shake them because they frustrated me so much. And you only do that with characters you deeply care about.
Sairish Hussain, author of The Family Tree
Reading Huma Qureshi's Playing Games is a comfort. Familiar and tender, the characters are both relatable and infuriating, as only sisters are. It discusses art, love, family, and the large non-negotiable life decisions we all eventually face. For everyone who is a sister, has a sister, or wish they had a sister.
Jenny Mustard, author of Okay Days
A heartwarming tale of two sisters, and a bittersweet reckoning with what it means to make art; what we ask of and what we take from those we're closest to. Huma Qureshi is a writer with a beautiful lightness of touch
Lucy Caldwell, author of These Days
Compassionate, thoughtful and thought-provoking
Haleh Agar, author of Out of Touch
Qureshi brilliantly captures the complexities of sisterhood in this intimate novel
Joanna Finney, Good Housekeeping
A book full of raw emotion, tension and, ultimately, sibling love
Kirstyn Smith, My Weekly
A beautifully written debut
Red Magazine
With jeopardy that keeps you turning the pages, as well as both the acuity and tenderness for examining family and forgiveness, this is a gem of a novel
The i
A poignant tale of two sisters that illuminates the complexities of family ties
Harper's Bazaar
Poignant and impressionistic . . . highly readable and relatable . . . It is filled with hard decisions and harsh truths, but also the softer and more tender moments of life and familial love. Above all, sisterhood is front and centre.
Sana Goyal, Guardian
One of the best writers exploring family connections today
Jen Campbell, TOAST Magazine
This beautifully written novel dives into the complex dynamic between two very different sisters . . . This is brilliant on siblings, secrets and the art of storytelling. I loved it.
Sara Lawrence, Books of the Year, Daily Mail
Observant, bluesy . . . an emotive meditation on the ethics of art and the resilience of family bonds
Hephzibah Anderson, Observer
Qureshi skilfully explores the dynamics of family bonds in this beautifully written novel
Jacqueline Ling, The i
Conflict, misunderstandings and a rueful acceptance of their sisterly differences fuel an emotionally engaging plot, but it's Qureshi's lambent prose that makes her novel such a radiantly honest read
Eithne Farry, Mail on Sunday
In beautifully light and charming prose, [Qureshi] gives the reader some deeply engaging romantic drama in the form of Hana's marriage and Mira's romantic encounters, which provide a deeply emotional and enjoyable backdrop for the philosophical musings.
Edel Coffey, Irish Times
Well-crafted . . . Playing Games is all about sisterhood, in all its gnarly glory
Alexandra Peake-Tomkinson, Financial Times
Huma Qureshi writes with wisdom and heart about two sisters in a fraught relationship
Pandora Sykes
A carefully drawn portrait of two sisters at a personal and familial crossroads
Best Books of 2023, Marie Claire
A moving, sensitive portrait of siblings caught between art, ambition and loyalty
The Bookseller