The Bones of Grace

Tahmima Anam (The Good Muslim) again takes readers into the heart of the Bengal region in this third outing with the Haque family, this time set in the modern day.

Bangladeshi to the core, Zubaida Haque never intended to stay in the U.S. after finishing her paleontology degree at Harvard. Her plan was always to return to the loving arms of her family in Dhaka and marry Rashid, her childhood sweetheart. However, meeting Elijah Strong challenges her assumptions. A stranger sitting next to her at a Shostakovich concert in Boston, Elijah comforts Zubaida when she cries during the performance, moved less by the music than by the unbidden memory of her ninth birthday, when her parents revealed she was adopted. Suddenly her spontaneous emotional moment becomes the beginning of a soul-deep connection to this American, and they strike up a passionate friendship. Even when Zubaida goes on an archeological dig in Pakistan, to find one of the modern whale's land-dwelling ancestors, she cannot let Elijah go, exchanging coded texts with him.

Beauty and pain thrive alongside one another in Anam's intricate tragedy of thwarted love and deep divides in social classes. Traditional gender roles and expectations still hinder Zubaida, and her family closely guards the secret of her origin for fear it will taint her in society's eyes. The poor and broken march past, their stories painfully laid bare to us, as Zubaida struggles to integrate her need for her family and her desire to cut her own path in the standalone last part of a compelling three-generation series. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads

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