Saturday, August 8, 2015

An Immigrant Family Copes with Change

At the start of the summer, Anwar is happy. He moved his family from Bangladesh to Brooklyn and has created a good life for his wife and two daughters. He owns an apothecary shop where he sells beauty treatments and salves that he makes himself. He has a home he renovated in Brooklyn that he enjoys. He loves his family and is proud of his daughters, Ella and Charu. Then changes begin.

He loves his wife, but their romance has grown stale. He remedies it with an affair that he regrets. The girls too are changing. Ella comes home from college to discover Maya, a Moslem cleric's daughter, staying with them. The girls become very close blurring the lines between love and friendship.

Maya tries to poison herself, and Anwar's family experiences terror in their own neighborhood. To escape the problems, Anwar takes his family to Bangladesh. They enjoy being back among family, but tragedy stalks them.

If you enjoy character driven novels, this is a good one. Each of the family members is carefully crafted. During the summer they all grow and change in believable ways. The girls experience the pains of growing up and coming to terms with who they are. Anwar also must face who he is and come to terms with the horrors of the past in Bangladesh.

The settings in Brooklyn and Bangladesh are beautifully described. I particularly enjoyed the description of Anwar's garden that he and Ella loved.

I highly recommend this book. It brings the reader into a different life and describes it beautifully.

I reviewed this book for Net Galley.