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Posted January 18, 2008
I just had tea at my rich friends house in the Dhanmondi, Dhaka and we mildly talked about how bad things were in 1971 in Dhaka,Bangladesh. That is the taste I have in my mouth after reading this ¿Historical¿ novel. Prelude: I barely survived the heinous Bangladesh Genocide of 1971. My Uncle and Grandfather were mercilessly butchered via bayonets to their guts and their dismembered bodies thrown into the river never to be found again. As an American Bangladeshi, I pre-ordered this book, rather with high anticipation. In all my eagerness, I wanted this to do justice to the rape and murder and mayhem that I was lucky to live through. The anticipation was that it would be at least of the caliber of Monica Ali's 'talented Bangladeshi author' wonderful book 'Brick Lane¿, especially after the reviews I had read. This is a very lucrative idea but completely misses giving the essence of WAR! WAR is bloody hell, and not 'GOLDEN', even if the house that the book is set in is sonar 'golden.' This book keeps on whimpering out. After reading the book and listening to the audio, I Am I drinking whiskey in today's corrupt world of Dhanmondi, Bangladesh talking about how things were in 1971 or am I reading about thre was of the opinion 'especially with Madhur Jaffrey¿s narrating' that I had heard a book on current Paki flavored Bangladeshi cooking with war thrown in for good measure. If this book is to portray the world of genocide, it does not. And it does not because it cannot break out of this Dhanmondi scene aura even with this stretched scene in Augortola, India thrown in. The flavor of 71 was in the countryside, it was in lakes and rivers around Dhaka with bloated dead Bangladeshi bodies that looked like balloons someone had blown up with crows and vultures sitting on them and ripping out stinking rotting carrion. For selecting a subject that no one in the English language has written a historical novel, bravo! Five Starts for cover design! Five stars for publicity and press. But, ONE STAR FOR THE REAL FEEL OF BLOODY WAR. FIVE STARS for a historical novel that no one has yet written in English language. I realize the author was born after 71 and did not spend time in Bangladesh. I was born and brought up in the Dhanmondi area and lived through this bloody hell of nine months that I will never forget as the most horrific experience of my life. There are just too many heinous errors in wielding the words of English and the book is verbose to a greater extent. Less is best. I applaud the effort. I cannot in good faith applaud the result.
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