Marganna (Midland, TX) (Edmonds WA)
A Golden Age: Tahmima Anam
From the first sentence I knew this story was going to capture my attention. Since I have very little knowledge of this part of the world, culture and the struggles of the people, the story kindled a desire to learn more history of Bangladesh, the War for Independence and the people. The story is told from a mother’s point of view; a story of a woman’s loss, courage, love, longing, determination, the will to survive and see her children live through a war destroying her country. The story is woven delicately and simply but is filled with meaning and feelings. I especially liked the writing style and the characterization of each person. I cared for the characters and could understand the situation they were confronting in their lives. I praise Tahmima Anam accomplishments on a beautifully written first novel. It is a book I’ll recommend to my book clubs, friends, and look forward to future novels by the author.
Barbara (Hilton Head SC)
A Golden Age
This is historical fiction at it's best; I knew very little about the Bangladesh war for independence before reading it. This is Tahmima Anam's first novel, but hopefully not her last. She writes beautifully with vivid, poetic descriptions. All mothers who read this book will understand the courage, faith, and love for her children shown by the main character, Rehana.
Since Pakistan is in the news so much, this book really sharpens the reader's understanding of the complex religious and political problems in that region of the world. I could not put it down; I stayed up until 2AM reading it, and finished it the next morning.
Maryanne (Spanaway WA)
A Golden Age by Tahmima Anam
I didn't expect to like this book nearly as much as I did. Tahmima Anam has created a main character that one cannot help but care for; Rehana has stayed with me since I finished reading the book several days ago. The setting of the book, the Bangladesh War of Independence, brings to life events of which I was only vaguely aware while they were happening. This is a book that I will want to read again.
Christine (Centerport NY)
A Powerful New Author
A grieving young widow, Rehana, loses her small children to her brother-in-law after the death of her husband due to jealousy, position, and power. This event permeates through the rest of the story as their mother tries to make peace with the past and heal this wound. They leave Bangladesh for the safety of Lahore and she vows to get them back, only to plunge them into a perilous war as they come of age in a country that their mother loves and they feel compelled to defend. Written with subtle exquisite prose and very real characters, Rehana’s love for her children and her country make for a heart wrenching tale of choice, destiny, and the affairs of the maternal heart. Ms. Anam gives voice to a widow’s love for her country and her late husband, the perils of war, and words left unsaid. She speaks eloquently of the depth of a mother’s love for her children and where the tragic path of that love will lead them.
Jennifer (Mamaroneck NY)
A Golden Age
A Golden Age depicts the Banglasdesh War of Independence factually and metaphorically through the lens of the protagonist, a young widow named Rehana Haque. The war provides the necessary preconditions for Rehana's emergence as an autonomous actor and truly interesting character, and although, that emergence takes place more toward the end of the novel, it was still an engrossing, rewarding read. It will appeal primarily to fans of historical fiction because the character development is so dependent on the historical context. Even so, the novel is quite an accomplishment for a first time novelist, and I can well imagine that as Tahmima Anam relies less on external context and more on internal, her work will become increasingly interesting and provocative.
Lani (Narberth PA)
A Golden Age
In the beginning, I was frustrated that there was not a glossary for many of the Urdu words and expressions. This omission was an annoying distraction from the total experience. Emotionally, however, the simple prose builds gradually to a dramatic and poignant tension, necessitating the need to finish the book in the wee hours of the night.
After finishing the novel. I happened to hear the author on NPR noting that the main character, Rehama, was based on her own grandmother's experience and that one of the other main characters was her uncle. Her grandmother actually did hide the weapons at the house and was confronted by the Pakistani army at gunpoint as they were looking for her son. It would have been an added bonus to have included that information at the end, making this chilling and uplifting story all the more poignant.
Book clubs should love this book, not only for the exploration of the depths of a mother's love,but also for a fascinating historical and intimate look at Bangladesh's quest for independence.
Doris (Angora MN)
A Golden Age
I enjoyed reading A Golden Age. The author did an excellent job of telling a family story, particularly of a mother's devotion to her children. This was told in the midst of the creation of the country of Bangladesh. I knew very little of the history of this country, and found it interesting in this context. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in historical fiction.