A Golden Age by Tahmima Anam – my magic book

 

Some magic has been going around me for some time. Sometimes I would wishlist a book on the online store I normally frequent, and wait for any offer or sales (cheapskate, I know) to pop up. Then, somehow the book would turn up at a local secondhand bookstore nearby my place, and then I would happily pick them up for my lunch treat.

Magic?

Yes, I believe so because I sincerely don’t have any other explanation for this strange phenomenon.

The first book was A Golden Age by Tahmima Anam. It is about a woman’s struggle to keep her children together and to protect them against the backdrop of the Bangladesh War of Independence in 1971.

Honestly, it is quite a draining novel for me; I struggled to understand the depth of the characters, their pain, frustration, and the intensity of love throughout their lives. Then there’s race, religion, customs, and ethnicity flowing through the story like a strong current. At some points, I thought I might just give up on the book; the lack being on my side. I had to stop for some time, do some research and continue with the rest of the novel. Otherwise I might as well read Greek.

And then there’s love, the universal theme, binding with hope, to show that no matter what rains upon you, love and hope will keep you going.

I like the part when she talks to her dead husband; it’s like a confession time for Rehana (the main character in the novel) to undo the burden of her life, sorrow and pain.

And then there are her neighbours cum friends who provide much needed (and sometimes unnecessary) advice and support to keep her going.

It is quite painful a story to read, but with HOPE emerging around the corners every now and then, I survived. The Golden Age.

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