Book Title: The Storm
Author: Arif Anwar
Total Number of Pages: 360
Publisher: Aleph Book Company
Publication Date: July 20 2018
Genre: Fiction/Historical Fiction/Saga
Shahryar, a recent PhD graduate and father of nine-year-old Anna, must leave the US when his visa expires. In their last remaining weeks together, we learn Shahryar’s history, in a village on the Bay of Bengal, where a poor fisherman and his wife are preparing to face a storm of historic proportions. That story intersects with those of a Japanese pilot, a British doctor stationed in Burma during World War II, and a privileged couple in Calcutta who leaves everything behind to move to East Pakistan following the Partition of India. Inspired by the 1970 Bhola cyclone, in which half a million-people perished overnight, the structure of this riveting novel mimics the storm itself. Building to a series of revelatory and moving climaxes, it shows the many ways in which families love, betray, honor, and sacrifice for one another.
‘The Storm’ is a historical fiction set around the time of the Bhola cyclone which had destroyed millions of lives in the 1970s. Traversing over different time periods, ‘The Storm’ narrates five different love stories covering different generations. Spanning over 60 years, Arif Anwar gives us an insight into the history of Bangladesh and how one event changed the course of several different lives.
The story travels us through the US, India and lands us in Bangladesh. The beginning of the story gives us a glimpse of the cyclone and then the story shifts to modern day US where we see that Shahryar, who recently acquired his PhD is on the verge of getting expelled from the States as his Visa is about to expire. Shahryar has to make a tough decision, i.e., leaving his nine-year-old daughter, Anna and his wife behind.
The narrative takes us through Shahryar’s life, travelling all the way and landing us in a small village by the side of the Bay of Bengal. Anwar has weaved Shahryar’s story with other characters, a Japanese pilot, a British female doctor in Burma and a couple in Calcutta who move to East Pakistan after the partition of India. All their stories coincides on different levels and each one of them narrates their own stories.
I loved the writing style of the author. He had managed to link through the various timelines so effortlessly that the chapters were connected to each other well and it didn’t feel abrupt or incomplete.
There are many characters in the book but it was easy to keep track of each one of them and I really loved knowing them and their stories.
The cover is so simple yet reflects the theme of the story. The blurb is crisp and gives away enough information about the book to make you want to read it.
The narration is slow paced as it keeps switching between different timelines and places. So, it might get a bit boring if someone tries to read it at one go which was the problem with me too. The narrative also has a subtle melancholic feel to it. Overall, the narration is smooth and it just felt so relaxing to read through it.
‘The Storm’ is a beautifully written book. There were parts which I thought could have been better but the overall impact of the book on me stayed positive.
Recommended to everyone out there.
How do you feel about historical fiction or family sagas? Recommend me some historical fiction please!
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