Fiction from the Indian subcontinent: A Golden Age

Last weekend I was in the mood for a little international fiction so during one of my frequent trips to the library I picked up a trio of novels written by authors from the Indian subcontinent. This particular one, A Golden Age by Bangladeshi author Tahmima Anam follows the adventures of Rehana Haque and those around her as they are caught up in the bloody chaos of Bangladesh’s 1971 War of Independence. Tahima, a former resident of pre-partition Calcutta and young widow of two college age children, stoically endures the hardships resulting from Pakistan’s brutal repression of the young nation’s struggle for independence. With her son a guerilla fighter and her daughter a political activist, Rehana struggles to protect the lives of her household and others as war, genocide, betrayal and privation haunt the land.

After finishing Anam’s novel this morning, I have mixed feeling about this book. Despite A Golden Age getting glowing reviews, I thought it was good, but not  exceptional. At times I thought the first-time novelist did a fine job portraying the sadness and terror experienced by everyday people thrust into extraordinary circumstances, but sometimes I found her storytelling a bit circuitous. Maybe it was just me, but I also thought her characters could have used a bit more development.

But I can’t be too critical of Anam’s novel since I burned through it in only a few days and let’s be honest, that doesn’t happen often with a debut novel. I’ve read that A Golden Age is the first book of a planned trilogy. If that’s the case, I’m cautiously optimistic Anam’s future novels will be well worth reading.

Advertisements

4 Comments

Filed under Area Studies/International Relations, Fiction, History

4 responses to “Fiction from the Indian subcontinent: A Golden Age

  1. I read this book a while back and learned much about that time period. Thanks for sharing your review. Will add your link to my post.

  2. I love novels that you can read though quickly. It’s too bad this one wasn’t quite as good as you hoped, but that’s ok sometimes.

  3. Interested to hear your thoughts on this as I have it on my own tbr shelf. Sounds like a worthwhile if not perfect read.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s