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Bright Lines: A Novel de Tanwi Nandini Islam
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Bright Lines: A Novel (edició 2015)

de Tanwi Nandini Islam (Autor)

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
17512120,039 (3.48)4
A Bangladeshi orphan haunted by her parents' murders moves in with family members in Brooklyn until a fateful coming-of-age summer when her Islamic runaway cousin and she confront painful family secrets.
Títol:Bright Lines: A Novel
Autors:Tanwi Nandini Islam (Autor)
Informació:Penguin Books (2015), 304 pages
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
Etiquetes:to-read, author-of-color

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Bright Lines: A Novel de Tanwi Nandini Islam

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» Mira també 4 mencions

Es mostren 1-5 de 12 (següent | mostra-les totes)
I wanted to like this book, I really did, but I couldn't quite get into it. The beginning was amazing - the author manages to present Brooklyn as a nearly magical place and the characters are intriguing, with hints of complexities that will unravel in the pages to come. Still, I kept loosing the thread of the story as it felt like the characters were completing to have their stories told and things felt more like a messy jumble than a thoughtful plot. Overall, it was an interesting story and I can understand why a different reader than myself might very well love this book. ( )
  wagner.sarah35 | Jan 17, 2021 |
Thoroughly original and spellbinding. Enjoyed every second of it. ( )
  Katie_Roscher | Jan 18, 2019 |
This is a really engrossing immigrant family drama, parts of which feel very familiar, not that different from the experiences of my mother's family. Immigrant parents, American children, family left behind in the old country, old family issues that didn't disappear because they moved away.

The difference, of course, is that this family are Muslims from Bangladesh.

Anwar and Hashi Saleem have built a good life in Brooklyn, where they have raised their daughter Charu and their orphaned niece Ella--daughter of Hashi's brother and his wife, murdered by old enemies from the war years. Ella is in college now; Charu has just graduated high school and will start college in the fall. Anwar runs Anwar's Apothecary, selling herbal health and beauty products which he makes himself. Hashi operates a beauty salon out of a portion of their house.

All four have a summer of discovery and upheaval ahead of them.

Ella comes home from college to find Charu's friend Maya, daughter of a local Muslim cleric, asleep in her bed. Maya has run away from a home life that is increasingly not just strict, but oppressive and even emotionally abusive. Anwar and Hashi decide to let her stay.

The three girls have a summer of adventure, self-discovery, and sensual exploration. Anwar, meanwhile, struggles with his memories of Bangladesh's war for independence from Pakistan, a marriage that has perhaps grown a bit dull after thirty years, and the temptations of a beautiful tenant living on the top floor. He and Hashi both worry for the two girls they've raised and love. When all their secrets blow up for all of them, Anwar packs his family off to Bangladesh to visit their surviving family--Hashi's father and surviving brother, and her dead brother's adopted son.

More discoveries and revelations await them.

This is a novel of character exploration and growth, not a whizzbang plot. The Saleems and their friends and family are flawed, fascinating, and mostly very likable people.


I received a free electronic copy of this book from the publisher via Penguin's First to Read program ( )
  LisCarey | Sep 19, 2018 |
I really wanted to like it. The story of a family set in both New York and Bangladesh tells the tale of several family members with their loves, hidden desires, work, struggles and more. Ella/El and Charu are cousins raised as siblings after the death of Ella/El's parents. Charu's parents, Anwar and Hashi, make a living in their brownstone. Maya is a young woman who comes to stay with the family after a severe falling out with her father.
To be honest, this was a struggle. It takes quite a while to figure out where this story is going and what the conflict is. It turns out it's a bunch of interwoven problems that run in this family but it takes a really long time to get there. Ella/El is sorting out sexuality and gender identity. Charu is struggling with being a young woman on the cusp of leaving home. Hashi and Anwar have been married for a long time, and quite frankly all that's keeping them together is probably tradition than anything else. Maya has her own problems.
This sounded like a great stew for a plot but I felt it was tough to get into. There are shifts in character points of view and while it didn't jar me as badly as with other books, I think it again lends to a loss of momentum and made it much harder overall to get into the heads of the characters. It sounded like a really great premise (also I don't think I've read any book set in Bangladesh for an extended period of time) but it didn't really work for me. It needed tighter editing and maybe a focus on just one character or at least cutting out the focuses on a couple of them or moving it to an omniscient narrator.
In some ways it reminded me of Matthew Thomas's 'We Are Not Ourselves' which tells the story of a family (over a longer period of time), but that book benefited from really only focusing on one character for most of the book with an epilogue focused on another at the end. It also mostly focused on the family, with friends popping up here and there. Here in 'Bright Lines' some characters get some focus but I think could have benefited from being cut down or out completely.
That said, it is a debut and I managed to get an ARC free from someone giving it away. I'd recommend this for a library borrow. ( )
  HoldMyBook | Feb 11, 2018 |
Bright Lines is the story of the Brooklyn-dwelling Saleem family that has immigrated from Bangladesh to enjoy the American dream. However, behind the perfect facade of their restored Brooklyn home, Anwar and Hashi are struggling with secrets from the past and discontent with the present. Their two college age daughters are stumbling their way into their futures. Much to her mother's dismay, Hashi and Anwar's biological daughter Charu seems in no hurry to make something of herself, instead choosing to wile away her time with boys and attempting to design clothes for the fashion label she dreams of. Adopted daughter Ella is quiet and awkward but has an unparalleled way with plants. In one transformative year, the family will have to face up to their secrets and the country of their past to learn to live again in the country of their future.

To be quite honest, I struggled with Bright Lines at the outset. It's slow to get started, and while the characters sprang to life, occasionally the dialogue was awkward and wooden. Anwar's dialogue in particular is sprinkled with pedantic tangents that allowed my attention to wander.

That said, Bright Lines really grew on me. Islam has that rare talent that can render New York City into something that seems somehow magical. The Saleems' Brooklyn house with its carefully tended oasis of a garden springs off the page. Maya, Charu, and Ella's adventures to parties and to the beach have the New York City grit stripped away to reveal a new place with undercurrents of possibility.

Islam's characters are undeniably unique and all are fully realized. Anwar, haunted by the war in his home country and the loss of his best friend, has become an herbal pharmacist and a shameless good-natured pothead. Hashi, more educated by far than your average salon worker, uses her understanding of psychology to transform people's outsides to mirror their true selves when she isn't busy coiffing bridesmaids for weddings. Charu is the pampered princess receiving all the benefits her immigrant parents have striven to give her and squandering them on boys and temper tantrums. Ella, uncomfortable in her own skin and plagued by vivid hallucinations since the death of her parents, is still struggling to find her own identity.

Islam renders Bangladesh with the same artful hand she uses to bring NYC to life, contrasting beautiful beaches with wretched slums. She sets present day Bangladesh in stark contrast to the war torn state of Anwar and Hashi's youth. In a country that endured a painful transformation, Islam expertly guides the Saleem family through a terrible transformation of their own until the scars and the rebirth of both are gently intertwined.

Bright Lines, while not perfect, is an extremely promising debut for Tanwi Nandini Islam. I'll be looking forward to the next novel from this author who easily draws the magical out of the ordinary. ( )
  yourotherleft | Jul 26, 2016 |
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A Bangladeshi orphan haunted by her parents' murders moves in with family members in Brooklyn until a fateful coming-of-age summer when her Islamic runaway cousin and she confront painful family secrets.

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