The Next Chapter

If you liked Tahmima Anam's A Golden Age, you'll love Arif Anwar's The Storm

The Next Chapter columnist Aparita Bhandari selects a Canadian counterpart to Tahmima Anam's award-winning novel.
Columnist Aparita Bhandari says if you liked A Golden Age by Tahmima Anam, you'll love The Storm by Arif Anwar. (Twitter)
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Tahmima Anam is a British Bangladeshi writer. Her Bengal trilogy follows the fortunes of three generations of a family from the Bangladesh independence war to the present. That trilogy established her reputation as one of the U.K.'s most talented young novelists. The first book in the series A Golden Age begins with the war that separated Bangladesh from Pakistan in 1971.

The Next Chapter columnist Aparita Bhandari has read A Golden Age and says that readers of that book will love the Canadian novel The Storm by Arif Anwar.

A Golden Age by Tahmima Anam

"Tahmima is the daughter of Mahfuz Anam, who people will know as the editor of one of the largest English-language newspapers in Bangladesh, The Daily Star. But both of Tahmima's parents, Mahfuz and her mother Shaheen, were also freedom fighters. They were involved very closely in the 1970s, but at home they would speak in Bangla and stories of the war would permeate their household. Eventually, Tahmima, who is very accomplished — she not only has an MA but also a Ph.D. in anthropology — went on to do some creative writing. When she started telling stories, she kept on coming back to the story of Bangladesh and the stories that her parents told her, especially this one of her grandmother who had a small part to play. That is actually what becomes the central story of A Golden Age."

The Storm by Arif Anwar

"The Storm came out earlier this year. I had been hearing lots of great things about it. Arif originally grew up in Bangladesh and now lives in Toronto. It covers a lot of the similar ground that A Golden Age does. It's a much more expansive story. There are a lot of similar elements. There's the idea of the intergenerational story, the separation and creation of Bangladesh is also part of one of the stories and it also goes into the Japanese invasion of Burma. There are all these stories that are going on. They take us into the lives of these people in these intergenerational kind of happenings, going back and forth in the book."

Aparita Bhandari's comments have been edited for length and clarity.