Drama

Home of the Floating Lily by Silmy Abdullah

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At times like this, when I read surprising books like these, I feel like I have enjoyed my reading year just the way I intended to.
This was a surprising gem that I did not expect as I started reading. A few stories in, the better the experience got. I must proclaim my bias beforehand though, I am almost one of those featured in the narrative. Although I had extended family who left India before me, I was essentially alone and free to tailor my new identity as I went abroad, and even after my marriage, it was the two of us living a little differently than any neighbours we might have had (and still do).
It makes it easier to imagine the writing coming to life and feel the trials and tribulations of those people mentioned here. With the ever-shrinking world, I am sure even a non-south-Asian ex-pat would be able to see through the layers of many of the narratives and identify with some part of a character mentioned here. The writing was vivid enough to even attract those who do not actually relate to the characters as well.
Not all the stories are equally great, but they were all good, with a few that stand out. All of them have strong women who strive to do their best and survive. More than survive, they nurture. The nurturing was for children, parents, in-laws or even the odd neighbour. It was a satisfying read, even with all the sad undertones. I highly recommend this to
I liked the language used, the imagery that was conjured up, letting me enter the world in such a short time. The short stories here did not feel like bite-sized ones but a whole in-depth exploration of different people. Finally, it is a well-balanced collection because it showed different versions of life both in Bangladesh and Canada, letting the larger public know that there is more nuance in the lives of those who choose to live abroad and/or return than people of other countries could imagine.
I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a read about another culture.
I received an ARC thanks to NetGalley and the publishers but the review is entirely based on my own reading experience.

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