In this novel, "A Golden Age", we meet Rehana Haque, a young mother who is forced by the courts to allow her brother-in-law to take her children after the untimely death of her husband. Rehana is in mourning, both for her children and her late husband, and she will do anything that she has to to get them back with her.
The plot then shifts and we meet her several years later. She has been re-united with her children, remains faithful to the memory of her late husband and she has established a life for herself in East Pakistan. Her children are almost grown now, and they are beginning to make decisions for themselves. As the Bangladesh War of Independence rears its ugly head where Rehana and her children live, they will be forced to take stock of their lives and decide how they want to live and act.
This novel was very frustrating for me. I found it slow at times, and found it hard to immerse myself in the plot. What made it frustrating was that the novel was almost there. Anam had some intriguing plot points lying just below the surface. I just failed to feel any emotion radiating from the pages, and so many times that is what makes a novel great for me. She had so much good material: a strained relationship with a daughter who made it hard to love her, a beloved husband who died too young, a son whom she adored, a lover who emerges onto the scene towards the end. She had the horrors of war to work with, and although she described these horrors in detail, I still failed to feel any emotion towards the situation or the characters.
So close, yet not close enough. This would make an interesting historical read for someone interested in the Bangladesh War of Independence.
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