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Playing Games

On sale

9th November 2023

Price: £16.99

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Selected: Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781529368741

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

‘Poignant and impressionistic . . . highly readable and relatable’ Guardian

‘A gem of a novel’ i

‘A beautifully written debut’ Red

Hana has a perfect job, a perfect home, a perfect marriage. It is her younger sister Mira who is a mess. But Hana wants children and her husband is hesitating, and perhaps her control is slipping.

Mira dreams of a creative life but she’s stuck working at a local café. She hates her flatmate and Hana’s dismissal of her writing but she can’t find the right inspiration.

One night, a fight between Hana and her husband sparks something in Mira: the words ring in her head and she starts typing. But what can you borrow from your sister? And what can be forgiven?

‘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

Reading Qureshi’s crystal prose is a rare pleasure. I found Playing Games unputdownable’ Molly Aitken, author of The Island Child


Chloë Ashby, author of <i>Wet Paint
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.
Zeba Talkhani, author of <i>My Past is a Foreign Country</i>
A riveting and evocative tale of two sisters navigating love, loss and desires
Molly Aitken, author of <i>The Island Child</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.
Sara Nisha Adams, author of <i>The Reading List</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.
The Bookseller
A moving, sensitive portrait of siblings caught between art, ambition and loyalty
Sairish Hussain, author of The Family Tree
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.
Jenny Mustard, author of Okay Days
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.
Lucy Caldwell, author of These 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
Haleh Agar, author of Out of Touch
Compassionate, thoughtful and thought-provoking
Joanna Finney, Good Housekeeping
Qureshi brilliantly captures the complexities of sisterhood in this intimate novel
Kirstyn Smith, My Weekly
A book full of raw emotion, tension and, ultimately, sibling love
Red Magazine
A beautifully written debut
The i
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
Harper's Bazaar
A poignant tale of two sisters that illuminates the complexities of family ties
Sana Goyal, Guardian
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.
Jen Campbell, TOAST Magazine
One of the best writers exploring family connections today
Sara Lawrence, Books of the Year, Daily Mail
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.
Hephzibah Anderson, Observer
Observant, bluesy . . . an emotive meditation on the ethics of art and the resilience of family bonds
Jacqueline Ling, The i
Qureshi skilfully explores the dynamics of family bonds in this beautifully written novel
Eithne Farry, Mail on Sunday
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
Edel Coffey, Irish Times
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.
Alexandra Peake-Tomkinson, Financial Times
Well-crafted . . . Playing Games is all about sisterhood, in all its gnarly glory
Pandora Sykes
Huma Qureshi writes with wisdom and heart about two sisters in a fraught relationship