The themes for the two posts today will be identity, of a person individually and how they fit into their family and community as a whole. Surprisingly I ended up finishing both of these books on the same day and they deserve to appear on the blog the same way. Considering the time difference, they may look like that for some countries in the west but they will be for me. This is the first of the two dealing with an identity crisis.
I have to first say that the cover does a disservice to the quality of the tale and the description of the decanter given within. This looks more like plastic whereas the storyline has a crystal one, which is the thread that runs in the background of the tale but comes a full circle at some point.
This book released at the end of the last year but unfortunately I only got around to reading it this month. I am glad I did though because it was a very enriching experience. I found the family lists in the beginning unnecessary, because I only paid attention to them once the story was over, it could have served a better purpose at the end. After all this nitpicking I should get to the point of why I enjoyed the tale.
This is a story which spans multiple decades and more than two families and a lot of important individual players. Leah is our principal character whose welfare is what we are always concerned about thanks to the way the story unfolds. Leah has a problem, she has ‘episodes’, the content and the implication of these episodes are revealed to us in fragments contributing to a complete picture. Initially, the story takes us month by month, then goes into a very important but long flashback and then jumps years with surprising frequency. In this time we grow fond of a few people, hate others and are conflicted by some actions. The joy of reading a saga is not just getting to know people but also live their life in the time they did and get to know a lot more about socio-economic conditions of the time, the variance that xenophobia took even in a country of immigrants. The questions of identity are prevalent throughout the tale, as people struggle to see themselves as part of some other whole, either as part of their roots or the people who made them. It was fascinating to watch unfold and although it could have been shorter, the length is by no means a very strong deterrent.
I highly recommend it to those people who like reading sagas, historical fiction or even just want to walk in the shoes of immigrants or first-gen Americans in the early 1900s.
I received an ARC thanks to NetGalley and the publishers but the review is completely based on my own reading experience.