14 May, 2021

Pickle Point

The spareness of writing, and clear-eyed descriptions of ordinary people caught up in extraordinary times, result in a narrative that is harsh and tender simultaneously

Pickle Point
The human story behind the bitter and bloody war of independence that resulted in the liberation of Bangladesh from Pakistani rule in 1971 has rarely been told, at least in English language fiction, and rarely been told so poignantly and well as in Tahmima Anam’s debut novel.

The author was born five years after the events she narrates, but has managed to recreate those turbulent times with an immediacy and intimacy which belies her relative youth. The book arrives in India already trailing clouds of glory, having won the 2008 Commonwealth Writers’ prize for best first book, and garlanded with rave reviews.

Anam in some ways fits all the tick-boxes for a successful South Asian writer: young, attractive female (see full-page author pic on the back cover), America-educated (Harvard, no less), Londoner (where she still lives), with the added fillip of a literary family (her father is the editor of the Daily Star, Bangladesh’s largest independent broadsheet, and her grandfather a well-known political satirist, Abdul Mansur...

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