- Hardcover: 432 pages
- Publisher: Canongate Books; Main edition (19 May 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1847679773
- ISBN-13: 978-1847679772
- Product Dimensions: 14.4 x 3.8 x 22 cm
- Average Customer Review: 17 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 464,559 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Bones of Grace Hardcover – 19 May 2016
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I bought the book because of style of the prose and the deep personal feelings of the main character. I was not disappointed, The powerful portraits of lives lived in South Asia, the disassembly of great ships along with the longing to know who you are. All measured against the immense time scale of life as studied by a paleontologist makes this a fascinating read which leads the reader ever onward.
I give the book and the author my recommendation.
What makes this book so impressive is Anam's narrative control and her ability to view the world and characters with complexity rather than reductively. It's a mark of her sophisticated vision that the place of greatest human abuse is also where Zubaida experiences her greatest happiness; that the haunting image of the skeleton of a prehistoric whale is matched by the vision of a ship being stripped back to its bare timbers beached on the sand.
It can be difficult to create empathy for a protagonist who is inclined to passivity but here, too, Anam pulls it off: Zubaida's motivations are sometimes
opaque but its precisely this quality which makes her feel so real. A gorgeous, graceful piece of writing that confirms Anam as a writer to watch.
On the eve of her departure to find the bones of the walking whale the fossil that provides a missing link in our evolution Zubaida Haque falls in love with Elijah Strong, a man she meets in a darkened concert hall in Boston. Their connection is immediate and intense, despite their differences: Elijah belongs to a prototypical American family; Zubaida is the adopted daughter of a wealthy Bangladeshi family in Dhaka. When a twist of fate sends her back to her hometown, the inevitable force of society compels her to take a very different path: she marries her childhood best friend and settles into a traditional Bangladeshi life. While her family is pleased by her obedience, Zubaida seethes with discontent. Desperate to finally free herself from her familial constraints, she moves to Chittagong to work on a documentary film about the infamous beaches where decommissioned ships are destroyed and their remains are salvaged by locals, who depend on the goods for their survival. Among them is Anwar, a ship-breaker whose story holds a key that will unlock the mysteries of Zubaida s past and the possibilities of a new life. As she witnesses a ship being ripped down to its bones, this woman torn between the social mores of her two homes Bangladesh and America will be forced to strip away the vestiges of her own life . . . and make a choice from which she can never turn back."
I was given an ARC by Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
This book has a subject at its core that makes my blood boil. Arranged/forced marriages. It delights me that somebody has sat down and created a stunning story that brings the misery and frustration of forced marriage to the fore. The book is stunning. It flows lyrically and paints such evocative pictures with its words.
A five out of five star read.
I am profoundly grateful to Netgalley and Canongate Books for my copy.
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