Sunday, 8 July 2012

Bookworm: A Golden Age by Tahmima Anam

After having just read a trilogy of filthy fiction, I was looking forward to returning to reading something a tad more familiar.

I purchased this book as part of a bundle set and was mostly attracted to it by its cover. It made me think of far away places, exotic locations, a different way of life.

This book is set in East Pakistan in 1971 and uses the history of the war and the forming of Bangladesh as the basis of this fictional tale.

The Haque family are the main characters in Anam's story, mother Rehana, daughter Maya and son Sohail.

Ignorantly not knowing much on this historical issue, I felt it would have been beneficial to give a bit of background at the start of the book to help set the scene and explain.

However, in terms of the actual setting for the story, every smell, noise and sight comes alive in your mind as Anam's wonderful descriptions go on and on.

I could get lost in the book, whether reading it in on a cold, rainy day or an (unusual) warm day. The description of the blisteringly hot temperatures or the powerful, strong sheets of the monsoon rain, I imagined it all.

At times I did struggle, unfamiliar with the names of certain items of cuisine or local customs. Although due to other areas being described so well it was easy enough to look past these and just have a rough idea what was being talked about.

For such a short book (296 pages), each main character developed fully and strongly across the course of the story.

The constant emotional events throughout ensured you went from feeling sad to concerned, amused and relieved.

Good bits
Great descriptions
Interesting story
Good development of characters

Not so great
Certain terminology leaves you feeling a little lost
The story is a little slow to start
At times the approach/writing style seemed a little naive/childish

Due to buying the book as a bundle, I already have The Good Muslim to try out next. This is the follow up and revisits the family ten years on.

I'm hoping for some more exotic locations, delicious sounding foods and emotional stories, but hope the sequel is a worthwhile edition and not just an add on for the sake of it.

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