Monday, May 18, 2009

A Golden Age by Tahmima Anam

From the Publishers:

Rehana Haque, a young widow, blissfully prepares for the party she will host for her son and daughter. But this is 1971 in East Pakistan, and change is in the air.

Set against the backdrop of the Bangladesh War of Independence, A Golden Age is a story of passion and revolution; of hope, faith, and unexpected heroism in the midst of chaos—and of one woman's heartbreaking struggle to keep her family safe

What I think:

I really enjoyed reading this book. It made me realize how lucky I was to live in a country that is not plagued by civil war, a country that is blessed with riches. I really enjoyed the descriptions of a city torn in war and the descriptions of the refugee camp in India. While the book was powerful, I did have some problems with main character Rehana. I found that she never really questioned her son and his guerilla friends. Most of the characters find the injustice of the government to be atrocious but they never question their actions. For example at one point in the novel, Rehana son goes with the guerilla army and blows up an entire building as a message to the government saying we want a free Bangladesh but they never think of this as a tragedy. I can't help but wonder how many innocent people were or could have been killed during this event. I can't decide if it's Rehana's blinding love for her son or her need to keep questions like this in the dark in order to survive the war. The book centers on Rehana's family life but I also wish there would have been more of a historical description of the tensions in Bangladesh. The book glosses over the background information. Overall, I was immersed in this book and I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

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