HarperAudio. Aug. 2022. 12:19 hrs. ISBN 9780063140097. $27.99. F
-year-old Alma, born into a wealthy Brahmin family, is excited about her impending marriage, but she is living in tumultuous times. Razak’s powerful debut is set in February 1947, just six months before Partition splits India in two. It is a harrowing tale of division—political, religious, ethnic, and intellectual—that tests the bonds of one family caught in the middle. When her marriage falls through, Alma is devastated; she and her family are torn apart amid increasing violence in Delhi, but they are determined to survive. Narrator Soneela Nankani sensitively depicts Alma’s travails, as everything she knows changes. Nankani skillfully shows the conflict within young Alma, allowing both her maturity and her naïveté to come through. Listeners will be swept up into the beauty and heartbreak of modern India in this atmospheric audio. Razak pays homage to the culture and the struggle, as depicted by one family, to modernize while still honoring tradition.
VERDICT This lush novel is full of danger, war, and heartache, but shows that the bonds of family cannot be torn apart, even by the powers that be. Recommend to historical fiction readers and fans of Thrity Umrigar and Anjali Enjeti.
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