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Find out what Mumsnetters thought of The Bones of Grace by Tahmima Anam

(64 Posts)
SorchaMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 30-Jan-17 10:18:11

Introducing… Tahmima Anam and her latest novel, The Bones of Grace. Find out how Tahmima uses literature to make sense of these dark times.

Zubaida is on a journey to unearth the past; a journey that takes her away from the comfort of the corridors of Harvard to the scorching deserts of Pakistan. Her travels carry her back to her hometown of Bangladesh, and the dark horrors of a ship-breaking yard. Here, deep inside a beached ocean liner, lies the key to her story.

The Bones of Grace is a story of lost love and conflicted identity; of the urgent need to discover who we are before we can truly belong anywhere, and love anyone.

We ask all winners to share their thoughts about the book on this discussion thread. However, you don't have to win a free book to take part in the discussion - you're welcome to grab a copy of The Bones of Grace and post a review on this thread.

Everyone who posts detailed feedback on the book by midday Monday 20 March will be entered into a prize draw to win a £100 Love2shop voucher.

This giveaway is sponsored by Canongate

clairethewitch70 Thu 16-Feb-17 15:14:47

Book just arrived - will make a start on it tonight!

SpongeBobJudgeyPants Thu 16-Feb-17 20:25:56

Just got mine too! <Excited. How rock n roll am I?! >

Ipitythescale Fri 17-Feb-17 16:37:53

Just got mine too. Just need to finish my current book then I'll get straight on it.

jandoc Wed 22-Feb-17 13:01:07

my child hasn't read this one just yet

janeyf1 Wed 22-Feb-17 13:16:47

Would like to read this one

TracyKNixon Wed 22-Feb-17 13:22:43

Beautifully written novel of the forces that pull between recovering and breaking up the past in a powerful love story which moves across continents, back into geological time and within the heart and culture of how its protagonist comes to know herself and how we choose the direction of our lives.

mooota1514 Wed 22-Feb-17 14:45:46

my child hasn't read this one just yet

stewaris Wed 22-Feb-17 19:20:32

I really surprised myself by enjoying this immensely. I liked the contradiction between the past and the present and the difference between life in the west and Asia. I also felt the constraints of life when she returned to her own village and the freedoms of the States.

RACHELSMITH45 Wed 22-Feb-17 21:36:04

Excited about reading this one

NeverNic Wed 22-Feb-17 21:48:33

Going against the grain here, but I didn't love it. It is wonderfully rich in descriptions, particularly when parts of the story are set at the shipyard, however it frequently lost me. It felt jumpy and introduced ideas and elements to the story that weren't really explored. To me, it felt as if there were multiple stories that the writer was trying out in the first half of book, before deciding where the book was going. Certainly while reading it, I often did wonder where it was going, and when it would get to the point.

Had the story been solely about the shipyard and the comparisons with the protagonist's upbringing, then I would probably rave about it. Equally if there was more about the dig, then I could of enjoyed that. I felt that the parts to the story that the author had 'tied up' were not the parts that interested me the most, and so for me it was a little disappointing.

sbruin1122 Wed 22-Feb-17 22:45:18

This is a fantastic book with a great plot. Tahmima definately has a way with words!

phillie1 Thu 23-Feb-17 09:24:00

this didnt interest me at all, gave up about halfway through

iut044 Thu 23-Feb-17 12:58:05

Good book with a strong plot that I enjoyed a lot .

voyager50 Fri 24-Feb-17 11:46:46

I am about a quarter of the way through and although I am enjoying the story I don't like that the storytelling jumps around in time and place a lot and I am sometimes unsure as to how it fits into the timeline.

I haven't got to the shipyard part of the book yet but the different parts of the plot are slowly coming together.

I am interested in the walking whale that features in the book and I am going to do some research about it to see how much is based on truth.

I am looking forward to seeing how the stories come together and the characters develop.

sweir1 Fri 24-Feb-17 19:39:46

Great story. Thoroughly enjoying it

cookie09 Sat 25-Feb-17 11:42:21

I slowed down my reading of this book in the last few pages because I didn't want it to end. From the moment you start reading you know there can be no happy ending - there is just too much 'human' in this book for any convenient, Hollywood resolution.

Cailin7 Sun 26-Feb-17 13:11:23

The Bones of Grace is the 3rd book in a trilogy. I read it a few months ago and found that although I quite liked the first two books, this one left me disappointed, bored and frustrated with Zubaida.

voyager50 Sun 26-Feb-17 13:21:24

I had no idea this was part of a trilogy!

Does it consist of three books of a similar theme but unrelated or are the first two the beginning of this story?

SuzCG Thu 02-Mar-17 11:16:47

Thank you Canongate and Mumsnet for my copy of this book - not my usual sort of read and I've not read anything by this author before. Very impressive, descriptive language although quite tricky & complicated to read. I felt for quite a while into the story that it wasn't flowing and was different stories - however, with perseverance everything clicked and came into place. In the end I decided that this actually was quite a deep & thought provoking book - a modern love story, caught between different countries and cultures. Not the easiest book I've ever read, you do need to be prepared to think (so perhaps not a relaxed, lying on a sun lounger, detached from the world sort of book) but am I glad to have read it - yes. Would I talk about it to other bookish people - yes. 3.5/5 from me.

1969angep Thu 02-Mar-17 14:18:26

I'll be honest and say that I struggled with this to start with - I felt like I had read an awful lot without anything really happening. The style of writing is not my usual kind of read and it was a little over flowery and long winded at times.
That said I'm glad I stuck with it. Zubaida is a character without anchor. A lifetime of expectation is on her shoulders and she follows the path expected by her family, even though it is clearly not where her heart lies. An archaeological dig is cut short and she returns to marry her childhood sweetheart (although she has met and instantly fallen in love with Elijah shortly before leaving for the expedition)
Meanwhile, midway through the book we suddenly start following the story of Anwar who has walked away from his pregnant love Megna. He is now married but full of regrets and trying to re-trace his old love.
It is obvious that the two tales are connected but how is a mystery until almost the very end of the book.
The pair run into each other at a ship dismantling town but don't realise their significance to each other at the time. It is only later when Zubaida, desperately trying to piece together the story of her adoption, is made aware of a big family secret and suddenly the connections become clear.
The book is full of rich description (perhaps overly so at times) and a poignant picture is painted of a poor nation of exploited people where the divide between rich and poor is not just a line but a chasm.
The personal tale of the main characters is wrapped up in a happy(ish) ending but even this is left to interpretation.
If you like your books to be meandering, descriptive and slow builders you will probably enjoy this. I just felt a little flat at the end of it, possibly because I'm not sure I really liked any of the main characters. They all seemed just a bit too self absorbed for my taste!

clairethewitch70 Thu 02-Mar-17 14:24:00

I may be reading this a bit slower than the other reviewers. I have just got to the part where Zubaida has arrived at the dig. I am finding it very word heavy and descriptive, just a style I am not used to. This is not a bad thing though and Tamima is obviously a very talented author. Will up date review as I get further into the book.

Ipitythescale Fri 03-Mar-17 20:54:57

Finally finished the book I was reading and can start this but a bit concerned that it's part of a trilogy. For those who have read all three are they each stand alone novels or will I miss things as I have not read the firs two?

grannybiker Sun 05-Mar-17 08:42:27

What an incredible setting!
Very descriptive style that wanders gently through the story. However the jumps in time and place can be a little confusing if you have poor concentration

hobbska Sun 05-Mar-17 09:32:39

Thank you so much for my copy of the book! It is not something I would normally choose to read and that is why I love these book give aways so much because it makes me read new and exciting things. I was not at all sure about the subject matter but was intrigued. I love the author's style of writing, very beautiful and you can completely imagine yourself in each of the settings and completely immerse yourself in this book. That said, I am finding the storyline hard-going. I don't know if it is because I just can't identify with the main character but I find some descriptions of what she is going through incredibly detailed and as soon as I feel like I am getting some way to understand her, then another part of her life is skipped over and I feel like I lose her again. Maybe this is what the author intended? I am only about half way through so it may be by the end of the book that I have a completely different opinion? I also so want her marriage to work because her husband sounds like a decent bloke and I feel like the Elijah character was only a brief encounter for her so how is she pinning all her hopes on him? Is it just complete escapism for her to imagine a completely different life with someone that she only met briefly? I'm not sure, I am reserving judgement until the end of the book but I wanted to post my comments before the deadline! If I finish the book before March 20th I will come back on and give my final opinions! Thanks again

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