Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Book Review: The Bones of Grace by Tahmima Anam

Book: The Bones of Grace

Author: Tahmima Anam

Pages: 404

Read On: Hardback

How Long it Took Me To Read: 3 days

Plot Summary: 'Anwar told me that it wasn't until he almost died that he realised he needed to find the woman he had once loved. I've thought about that a lot in the last few years, that if Anwar hadn't worked on that building site, he might never have gone looking for Megna, and if he hadn't done that, I might still be in the dark about my past. I've only ever been a hair away from being utterly alone in the world, Elijah, and it was Anwar who shone a light where once there was only darkness.'

The Bones of Grace.

It is the story of Zubaida, and her search for herself.

It is a story she tells for Elijah, the love of her life.

It tells the story of Anwar, the link in Zubaida's broken chain.

Woven within these tales are the stories of a whale and a ship; a piano and a lost boy.

This is the story of love itself.

General Thoughts: I love Tahmima Anam's writing. I really love how lyrical her prose is. I loved, absolutely LOVED the first two books in this series. The Golden Age blew my mind when I first read it back in 2008..I re-read it a few years ago and I even reviewed it on the blog, you can read it HERE
I read The Good Muslim, the sequel, in 2012 and loved it too. Funnily, when I picked it up I didn't realise it was a sequel! Silly me. It took me a little bit to figure out it was the same family! 
With this book too, it took me 75 pages to make the connect. You see I saw that Tahmima Anam had a new book out and I got it. Not even realising it was a continuation of the same saga. It was a happy little surprise to find this was the third book in the trilogy. I think this might just be the end of trilogy, the book ends on that note. 

Sadly, like really SADLY, this was a disappointment. Such a let down. It broke my heart to not enjoy this book. I went in with such expectations and they were dashed! 

 Things I Liked:

1. The writing as always was stellar. Anam's language and her way with words and sentences is flawless. I love her style of story telling. 

2. It was nice to visit with characters I have loved in the past. Maya and Rehana were women I loved getting to know in the previous 2 books and it was delightful to see them after all this time. 

3. I love the anthropological aspect of this book. I loved reading about Zubaida's job, especially the dig in Pakistan and the descriptions of the work that went on there and the everyday goings on at the camp. Plus I also really appreciate the amount of research the author must have had to do about whales and evolution and Palaeontology. 

4.  I love books that teach me a little something. Apart from a great story and characters, I love it when I learn something new from books. In this book there was plenty of learning. I loved learning more about the evolution of whales and about whales in general, I find them fascinating to begin with and reading more about them was rather fun. 
We also got to learn about ship breaking. Something I knew nothing...not a thing about. I found it fascinating and terribly heartbreaking all at once. Majestic ships being pulled apart and sold for scrap. 

5. All of the characters, even ones that we don't see a lot of are so well etched out and memorable. And all of them seem real. 

6. There is a little bit of mystery going on in this book and a nice and surprising resolution in the end, something I hadn't guessed--as to who Zubaida's birth family is. 

7.  I liked Rashid...which is strange considering he the man Zubaida doesn't love and has to marry him out a sense of responsibility. But I did like him and how accommodating and adjusting he was with all of Zubaida's wishes. I also liked how kind he was to her family. 

Things I Didn't Like: 
This might be a longggggggg list! 

I really, really did not like her. Her angst. Her confusion. The way she treated her parents. The appalling way in which she treats Rashid. Hated how passive she in her own life but boy she loves complaining about it but not doing anything about it. I didn't warm up to her or grow to care about her in the least and that for me was the biggest grouse with this book. I just couldn't bear to spend any more time with her or in her head. She is so negative and unhappy and frankly bloody annoying. Ugh! By the end of the book I wanted to reach inside the book and shake her and maybe even punch her in the face. 
This was particularly sad because in the previous two books we meet two wonderful women, Rehana and Maya and compared to them Zubaida is just insipid and unspectacular. 

2. There is so little of the older characters in this book and that to me is a failing. We see Rehana only twice, Sohail makes one appearance and Maya and Joy are only barely there. 

3. I hated what Maya has turned out to be. Gone is the feisty woman, in her place we have a very typical desi mother, who wants her daughter married and settled! WTF! You would think a woman like Maya would make a phenomenal mother, someone who is easy to talk to and someone who will understand their kids. But this Maya is none of those things. 

4. The whole Anwar narrative was just....too long and frankly unnecessary in such excruciating detail. Really not needed. 

5. There was so much going on in this wayyyyy too much and after a while it was jarring and a little bit too chaotic. 

6. Insta-love....Goddamned Insta Love! Zubaida and Elijah's big an acquaintance of 3 days! 3 days! She meets him. They hang out for 3 days and then she flies to Pakistan for the dig. Goes back to Bangladesh. Gets married and keeps pining for him. 3 days! They don't even talk or text or Skype or anything. They only communicate via song titles! WHATTT?!!!!! As cutesy as that sounds I really don't think it qualifies as love. It just didn't ring true to me. 

7. The book was too long and honestly I almost didn't want to finish it. I wanted to leave it unfinished. 

Rating: 1/5 

I hated this book. It made me mad. I expected so much and was thoroughly disappointed by this book. But I recommend the first two books in the series. 

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