The Read Around The World Book Club discussion

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January 2018 - Bangladesh > First part - Up to April

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message 1: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 338 comments Mod
First impressions


message 2: by Linda (new)

Linda (lindaleehall) | 30 comments I have mixed feelings about the book so far. While the story is interesting, and something I should know more about, I feel there is something lacking in the character development. Even Rehana seems a little vague and elusive. The other characters seem very one-dimensional. There is some sensory detail about food and clothing, there is very little about the people. I can't summon up a vision of the characters. The only detail that stays with me is Maya's blue-black braid of hair.
I hope there will be more depth of personality and physicality as the story progresses.


message 3: by Margaret (new)

Margaret (mlafaive) | 4 comments Regardless of how I end up assessing this novel as work of art, it is an important read for me as I am learning a lot about the cultural and political situation that led to the separation of Pakistan and Bangladesh. Sadly, it is another story of terror, torture and the abrogation of democracy. I do feel that these first few chapters are somewhat disjointed and I am having a little bit of trouble keeping track of the family, the neighbors, the friends and their relationships to each other. It is almost like the author isn't quite sure where she should put her focus; and as a result, she is spreading everything a bit too thin. I admit I have read past April and things do seem to be coming together a bit more.

I think the writing is quite beautiful at times and her descriptions of the landscape, the weather, the homes, etc. are very evocative. I am thoroughly enjoying the book and look forward to hearing what others think.


message 4: by Emmy B (new)

Emmy B | 8 comments I'm really glad this book was picked out as I know almost nothing about this topic. It's still too early for me to formulate opinions about characters but I'm liking the story so for. At this last part I got scared because the was started and it's hard for me to read it but I think this is going to be a very good book.

As for the publication itself, my edition of this book is gorgeous. I really appreciate those tiny symbols at the beginning of each chapter. :)

Looking forward to reading the rest of it. :)


message 5: by Karen (new)

Karen Tomlin (purplegerberas) | 5 comments I agree with the above. At the moment it feels like far too many characters are appearing and without much detail I’m working hard to remember how they all fit together!

I did feel it was very descriptive of the settings.

At the moment I have many questions in my mind and hope that they get answered as the story progresses.

It’s a period in history I know nothing about so looking to learn at the same time


message 6: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 338 comments Mod
Too early to really know anything but I feel for Rehanna being the stranger in that land and worrying about future. I do not know all that much about the Bangladeshi struggle for independence so I am keen to read on.


message 7: by Britta (new)

Britta Böhler | 51 comments So far I'm really enjoying the book, even though I found the plotline a bit muddled at times. The historical backdrop interests me and I like the way Aman combines the personal story of the characters with the events in the country.


message 8: by Jennie (new)

Jennie (jenniejohnston) | 11 comments I was taken with the pacing and rhythm of the writing right away. Rehana’s perspective is very different from my own journey through motherhood and yet I was able to relate to her very quickly. Anam’s descriptive writing builds the city and the customs of the culture with just enough to keep the story moving.


message 9: by Keriann (new)

Keriann (kad123) Enjoying so far, however I’m not a fan of any of the characters


message 10: by Beatrizmallow (new)

Beatrizmallow | 36 comments Mod
I like how easy to read the book is so far but as others have mentioned I'm not a big fan of any of the characters for now. Looking forward to keep reading.


message 11: by Kathrin (new)

Kathrin I am listening to the audio book and found the beginning to be really hard to follow, which in audio books means that I am not very invested in the story. But towards the end of the section I felt the plot line “straightened out”, so I am looking forward to the remainder of the book.


message 12: by Candace (new)

Candace | 53 comments I also tried the audio book and found it harder to follow than the book. However, I really am enjoying the writing and the characters especially Rehana, Maya and Sohail. I also like the difference between Rehana going through the pre-war events and her kids, showing the generational differences. It was interesting to read how Sohail handled Silvi’s marriage. Really glad we are reading this book.


message 13: by Shawn (new)

Shawn Mooney (Shawn The Book Maniac) | 6 comments Linda wrote: "I have mixed feelings about the book so far. While the story is interesting, and something I should know more about, I feel there is something lacking in the character development. Even Rehana seem..."
I could not agree more!


message 14: by Shawn (new)

Shawn Mooney (Shawn The Book Maniac) | 6 comments Hey lovely people, I’m so pleased to be part of the discussion. But I must say I agree with Linda, the character development is very weak, and I’m starting to lose interest because of that. I also find the scenes of dramatic and historic incident to be rather dully done, in sharp contrast to novels I’ve loved such as Thien’s Do Not Say We Have Nothing, Mistry’s A Fine Balance, or Sahota’s The Year of the Runaways. Nothing is coming alive for me with this one, not so far.

I’m doing it on audio, and find the audio narration to be superb. Wikipedia is helping fill in some of the information gaps, and I’m able to follow the plot closely, and making notes as I go along to keep everything straight. But at this point, really it’s only my interest in learning more about this part of the world that is keeping me going. If it doesn’t get at least a little better soon, I will probably bail.

Sorry to be a negative Nelly. Glad to hear that others are enjoying it more!


message 15: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca | 5 comments Hi everyone,

I agree that the character development seems a bit artificial, and that has led me to not become deeply invested in any of the characters. However, I do have a growing sense of unease as I begin to fear the ramifications of the war on these characters. That leads me to think that it is important for me to read on, in order to learn more and bear (silent, and removed) witness to an awful period in Indian/Bangladeshi/Pakistani history.


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