'A Mirror Made of Rain' by Naheed Phiroze Patel '16 Acquired by HarperCollins India

Nicole Saldarriaga
February 12, 2021

HarperCollins India recently announced that their prestigious Fourth Estate Imprint would be publishing a debut novel by alumna Naheed Phiroze Patel '16. The novel, titled A Mirror Made of Rain, is set for publication in April 2021 and has already elicited high praise from editors at HarperCollins and Columbia faculty. Read more of Patel's work here.

A Mirror Made of Rain is a coming of age novel whose protagonist, Noomi Wadia, struggles with both the loss of her father and the fraught relationship she has with her mother. As she battles her own problems with addiction and anxiety, Noomi begins to see that she is following the same path of mental illness and self-destructiveness which affected her mother and made their relationship so toxic. The result is what adjunct professor Diksha Basu '14 calls "luminous—a blistering and unflinching commentary on family, love, pain, addiction and destruction." 

Rahul Soni, Executive Editor at HarperCollins India, said of the novel, "Patel's first novel is intelligent, humorous—yet sharp and merciless in its portrayal of a fraught mother-daughter relationship, and the universal struggle all children undertake in order to not turn into their parents. But for all the direness of the subject matter, what shines through is hope and an affirmation of life, without any of the attendant sentimentality. A Mirror Made of Rain is an exceptional work."

According to Patel, “I began writing A Mirror Made of Rain as a way to come to terms with the untimely death of my father. I hoped, by writing a character based on him, to keep him a part of my life for a bit longer. As I got further into the story, however, I was taken over by an all-consuming need to explore the sense of unbelonging felt by my protagonist, Noomi, and to capture the maelstrom of loss, joy, grief and tender moments that make up a life. The novel’s epicenter is the dysfunctional relationship between Noomi and her mother, Asha, and I wanted to portray the unravelling of their lives with honesty and empathy, reaching into the hearts of these two women to reveal the darkness that addiction and mental illness casts over a family."

Naheed Phiroze Patel's writing has appeared in The Guardian, HuffPost, The Rumpus, Scroll.in, New England Review, BOMB Magazine, EuropeNow Journal, PEN America, and elsewhere. She lives in the greater New York City area and works as a freelance essayist, interviewer and critic.