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David and Ameena
David and Ameena

David and Ameena


400 Pages, 5 x 7.75

Formats: Trade Paper, EPUB

Trade Paper, $15.95 (US $15.95) (CA $20.95)

Publication Date: May 2021

ISBN 9781912054275

Rights: US & CA

Fairlight Books (May 2021)


eBook Editions Available

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Modern-day New York, a subway train. David, an American-Jewish jazz musician, torn between his dreams and his parents’ expectations, sees a woman across the carriage. Ameena, a British-Pakistani artist who left Manchester to escape the pressure from her conservative family, sees David.

When a moment of sublime beauty occurs unexpectedly, the two connect, moved by their shared experience. From this flows a love that it appears will triumph above all. But as David and Ameena navigate their relationship, their ambitions and the city they love, they discover the external world is not so easy to keep at bay.

Ami Rao’s masterful debut novel picks apart the lives of two people, stripping them of their collective identities and, in doing so, facing up to the challenge of today: can love give us the freedom to accept our differences?


"I've never read such an accurate and telling evocation of the additional complications of personal creative expression." —Tim Hayward, writer, broadcaster and columnist

“a well-drawn portrait of an adult relationship where individual fears and insecurities are as present as the couple’s aspirations for mutual love, support, and future happiness.” —Publishers Weekly

“Rao makes her solo debut with a novel rich in imagery and emotions. It challenges the reader to look deep into the characters through their actions, as an almost omniscient narrative voice hints at their future. Love or hate them, they are memorable.” —Library Journal

"Exquisite. Beautiful. Provocative. I love her writing. . . .A breathtaking improvisation - masterfully orchestrated." —Jim Lawless, author of Taming Tigers

"I’ve never read such an accurate and telling evocation of the additional complications of personal creative expression. Its truth makes it hard to read in places but Rao’s sparkling voice leads you through." —Tim Hayward, writer, broadcaster and columnist

"A touching story of multicultural love, desire, and achievement with “soul” at its heart. Ami writes in a way that makes you feel you are there in the story with David and Ameena, improvising jazz with David and helping Ameena find honesty in her art." —Geoffrey Horton, musician and vocalist

"Ami Rao intricately weaves threads of love, family, politics and identity to create a beautiful, and very real, modern love story that sparkles beneath a New York skyline." —Huma Qureshi, author of How We Met

"One of the most emotionally rich and mesmerizing novels I’ve read in some time. Rao’s gorgeous and graceful writing makes David and Ameena compulsively readable. This book will seduce you, enthrall you, and change the way you think about love." —Jonathan Eig, New York Times best-selling author of Ali: A Life

Author Biography

Ami Rao is a British-American writer who was born in Calcutta, India and has lived and worked in New York City, London, Paris, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Ami has a BA in English Literature and Economics from Ohio Wesleyan University and an MBA from Harvard Business School, and was most recently a banking professional in the City of London. When she is not reading, writing, cooking, eating, sailing or dancing, she can be found listening to jazz, her ‘one great unrequited love’. She also mentors girls of colour, with a keen emphasis on the merits of reading and education.

She co-wrote a sports memoir, Centaur, which was published in 2018. The book won the General Outstanding Sports Book of the Year Award and was shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year 2017. Her debut novel, David and Ameena, was published by Fairlight Books in 2021.