The Storm

Arif Anwar's debut novel explores several rich narratives, each recalling the history of Bangladesh.

Arif Anwar

Inspired by the 1970 Bhola cyclone, in which half a million people perished overnight, The Storm seamlessly interweaves five love stories that, together, chronicle 50 years of Bangladeshi history.

Shahryar, a recent PhD graduate and father of nine-year-old Anna, must leave the U.S. when his visa expires. As the father and daughter spend their last remaining weeks together, Shahryar tells Anna the history of his country, beginning in a village on the Bay of Bengal. There, a poor fisherman and his Hindu wife, who converted to Islam out of love for him, are preparing to face a storm of historic proportions. Their story intersects with those of a Japanese fighter pilot, a British doctor stationed in Burma during the Second World War, a Buddhist monk originally from Austria and a privileged couple in Calcutta who leave everything behind to move to East Pakistan following the Partition of India.

The structure of this riveting novel mimics the storm itself — building to a series of revelatory and moving climaxes as it explores the many ways in which families love, betray, honour and sacrifice for one another. (From HarperCollins)