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A Golden Age by Tahmima Anam
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Jan 22, 09

Read in December, 2007

The particulars of the conflict between Pakistan and Bangladesh are not familiar to many of us in America. To make this new ground palatable, Anam deftly filters the big picture through the personal experiences and impossible choices of her characters. We instinctively understand the indelible and intimate impact of passionate revolt on the quotidian; we smell the fetid air of the refugee camp, where the best shelter for one's family is found inside a construction pipe, while at the same time we are surpisingly moved by the desperation of a foolish woman who forces her daughter's marriage to a green young army offficer, believing it will ensure their safety in unstable times. It is such gem-like moments, without even the slightest hint of hysteria or playing to the audience, that made me feel fortunate to be reading A Golden Age during the sadly historic week of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, and to be learning about an aspect of Pakistan's history that informs what occurs there today. I look forward to the subsequent volumes in the trilogy.
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