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A Golden Age: A Novel Paperback – January 6, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
The book starts with a prologue where the widow Rehana sits at her husband's grave and tells him that she has lost the children. Because of her poverty, her husband's brother and childless sister-in-law have taken custody of Sohail and Maya, Rehana's 7 and 5 year olds. Even though they are gone for only a year, Rehana feels in her heart the yearning gap of that year and devotes herself totally to her children.
Every year, they have a party where they celebrate the children's return. March 1971 was no different. The party had become a routine, the same guests, Rehana's neighbors, a tenant family from India, the gin-rummy ladies and her daughter's friend. They are celebrating and optimistic of the future. But within a few short weeks, tanks rolled into Dhaka, refugees start streaming out, massacres occur in the city, and her children are drawn into the resistance movement. Life is anything but ordinary when Rehana is drawn into the resistance by her son and daughter. Faced with her guilt at how she lost them for a short while when they were young, and the secret of how she was able to bring them back, Rehana goes along with their efforts, hiding guns and supplies in her home and harboring and caring for a wounded major that at first she regards as a nuisance.Read more ›
The book is also too short, a complaint I almost never make. But back story is ignored so that the reader doesn't feel the impact the characters do when a girl decides to marry someone besides the main character's son. We also can't experience much of what the main character goes through when she loses her children to her brother-in-law for a year as we are not exposed to the extent of her love for her kids until too far into the novel.
Descriptive detail is also spotty. The protagonist, Rehana, proclaims that Dhaka is her city and very much a part of her, yet we hardly get a picture of Dhaka at all. We know there's a university, a market, some slums near the main train station, a cricket stadium, a lot of rickshaws and not much else. And it is crucial to understand why Dhaka means so much when actually the main character is from Calcutta, her children are in Lahore, and her sisters are in Karachi. Their native language is Urdu.Read more ›
After finishing the novel. I happened to hear the author on NPR noting that the main character, Rehama, was based on her own grandmother's experience and that one of the other main characters was her uncle. Her grandmother actually did hide the weapons at the house and was confronted by the Pakistani army at gunpoint as they were looking for her son. It would have been an added bonus to have included that information at the end, making this chilling and uplifting story all the more poignant.
Book clubs should love this book, not only for the exploration of the depths of a mother's love,but also for a fascinating historical and intimate look at Bangladesh's quest for independence.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I enjoyed experiencing a culture and history that was new to me, although it reflected a difficult struggle. Read morePublished 14 days ago by Cindy
Good book. Not great but I'd recommend it. Could have expanded on the historical aspects a lot further so we could learn more and sometimes the characters were unconvincing, like... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Janette
This book was really slow in the beginning so some may have to persevere to finish! About half way through it became really interesting!Published 1 month ago by Barletto
Depiction of war of independence of Bangladesh has been done beautifully. People suffered untold atrocities under a regime which had no consideration for human values. Read morePublished 2 months ago by suraj parkash Malhotra
"A Golden Age" is one of the most moving and compelling books I have read. I was captivated throughout by the story telling, the language and ability of Tahmina Anam to... Read morePublished 4 months ago by keetmom
The story of the terrible 1971 Bangladesh-Pakistan conflict, as the former sought independence from a joint East-West Pakistan. Read morePublished 6 months ago by sally tarbox
Quite a story. A woman's perspective on war, and the brutal war for Bangladesh's independence, at that. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Harry Marks
A beautifully written book that my daughter's new husband reccomended to me. Makes me feel and smell and ache for Bagladsesh and its political challenges and achievements.Published 11 months ago by wendy lynne ardagna