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Tahmima’s new novel a love story about migration, survival

Tuesday, Apr 5, 2016,14:07 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

New Delhi | ‘Bengal Trilogy’ author Tahmima Anam explores the lives of two seemingly disconnected people in her new novel ‘The Bones of Grace’, a lyrical modern love story about belonging, migration, tragedy, survival, and the mysteries of origins.

My new novel ‘The Bones of Grace’ tells the story of two seemingly disconnected people  Zubaida Haque, a young paleontologist who finds herself in the wrong marriage, and Anwar, a construction worker in Dubai who mourns the loss of the woman he left behind in Bangladesh. Anwar and Zubaida come from vastly different places, but they are connected in ways that neither of them realises, says Dhaka-born Anam, winner of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book (‘A Golden Age’).

The next two books in the trilogy are ‘The Good Muslim’ and ‘Shipbreakers’. ‘Anwar Gets Everything’, which was extract from ‘Shipbreakers’ and published in Granta’s prestigious Best of Young British Novelists edition in 2013, is the beginning of the story of ‘The Bones of Grace’, published by Penguin. It starts in Dubai and builds to a moment that changes Anwar’s life forever.

Everything that follows – his return to Bangladesh, his quest to find his lost love, and his eventual meeting with Zubaida – is set in motion, says Anam, who lives in London. I feel a particular affection for Anwar because his voice came to me almost as if in a dream  fully formed, with its own particular cadence, diction and slang  and he inhabited my thoughts ever since.

For me, he represents the silent young men we see at airports in Dhaka and Doha, the ones dressed in identical uniforms with their names written on cards around their necks. I tried to imagine what such a person might have left behind, what he might dream of, what his hopes and desires for the future are. Anwar’s story is just one story, but my hope is that he will give readers a momentary glimpse into an unknown life, she says.