Top positive review
A sweeping and personable history
January 31, 2016
Minal Hajratwala has written a sweeping yet personable history of her extended family's migration from India to points all over the world.
She tells stories about her family members' journeys to Fiji, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, and the United States. She gives their histories, starting over a hundred years ago, and sets them in the context of the culture and politics of their new homes. Like most of the best history, we see the big picture by starting with the details and the individuals, their struggles and successes.
What makes this history unusual is that the characters are the author's own family members, many of whom she visited and interviewed. The book is very thoroughly researched but is written in a conversational style, the way a person would write about their own family.
I feel like I know Minal, at least a little, even though I've never met her, and even better, I feel like I've met many members of her broad and interesting family. I'm grateful for her contribution to history and thankful to have read her book.
(A brief disclosure. I worked for a short time with the author's brother several years ago and I came to know about the book through him. I have not met the author.)