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From the award-winning, nationally bestselling author of A Golden Age and The Good Muslim comes a lyrical, deeply moving modern love story about belonging, migration, tragedy, survival, and the mysteries of origins.
On the eve of her departure to find the bones of the walking whale—the fossil that provides a missing link in our evolution—Zubaida Haque falls in love with Elijah Strong, a man she meets in a darkened concert hall in Boston. Their connection is immediate and intense, despite their differences: Elijah belongs to a prototypical American family; Zubaida is the adopted daughter of a wealthy Bangladeshi family in Dhaka. When a twist of fate sends her back to her hometown, the inevitable force of society compels her to take a very different path: she marries her childhood best friend and settles into a traditional Bangladeshi life.
While her family is pleased by her obedience, Zubaida seethes with discontent. Desperate to finally free herself from her familial constraints, she moves to Chittagong to work on a documentary film about the infamous beaches where ships are destroyed, and their remains salvaged by locals who depend on the goods for their survival. Among them is Anwar, a shipbreaker whose story holds a key that will unlock the mysteries of Zubaida’s past—and the possibilities of a new life. As she witnesses a ship being torn down to its bones, this woman torn between the social mores of her two homes—Bangladesh and America—will be forced to strip away the vestiges of her own life . . . and make a choice from which she can never turn back.
Tahmima Anam is an anthropologist and a novelist. Her debut novel, A Golden Age, won the 2008 Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book. In 2013, she was named one of Granta’s Best Young British Novelists. She is a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times and was a judge for the 2016 International Man Booker Prize. Born in Dhaka, Bangladesh, she was educated at Mount Holyoke College and Harvard University, and now lives in Hackney, East London.
“You’ll be moved by the author’s portrayal of hollowed-out characters pining for that which would make them whole again.” — Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Anam’s writing is most memorable when she deals in love and bones—the romance and the paleontological work she calls ‘our little argument with time.’” — New Yorker
“Beauty and pain thrive alongside one another in Anam’s intricate tragedy of thwarted love and deep divides in social classes…compelling…” — Shelf Awareness
“For those lucky enough to now be discovering Anam for the first time, a priceless literary gift awaits.” — Christian Science Monitor
“Love and estrangement, science and tradition, discovery and loss - with majesty, brilliant metaphor and unerring precision, Tahmima Anam explores the essential dichotomies of our present and past.” — Manil Suri, author of THE DEATH OF VISHNU
“Fierce and intimate, lyrical and expansive, The Bones of Grace offers what a great novel does: symphonic movements, historical landscapes that shape our private landscapes of love and life, mysteries and enchantments, the unforgettable and the unforgotten. Tahmima Anam is a mesmerizer.” — Yiyun Li, author of KINDER THAN SOLITUDE and THE VAGRANTS, PEN/Hemingway Award Winner
“Can any writer capture what’s going on? If one could, it would be Tahmima Anam, arguably Bangladesh’s most influential living writer… Her third book, THE BONES OF GRACE, runs all the way up to the present. It’s also so sharply realistic that for those who have lived in Bangladesh recently (like me), it feels like nonfiction.” — Lithub.com
“Lyrical and intimate…Powerful and beautifully written, tinged with hope but beset by tragedy… A modern love story, The Bones of Grace glimmers with hope, shimmers with beautiful prose, and shines with vivid characterization.” — Manhattan Book Review
“Can any writer capture what’s going on? If one could, it would be Tahmima Anam, arguably Bangladesh’s most influential living writer… Her third book, THE BONES OF GRACE, runs all the way up to the present. It’s also so sharply realistic that for those who have lived in Bangladesh recently (like me), it feels like nonfiction.” — Claire McAlpine, BookBrowse
“Anam captures two very different cultures in an introspective character study that will mesmerize readers from the very first page.” — Publishers Weekly
“An engrossing tale set in an unfamiliar landscape that is both a love story and a glimpse into the lives of people living and working in the most unfortunate circumstances.” — Library Journal
“Anam’s story resonates powerfully within the saga of three generations of women personifying Bangladesh’s evolution from the clarity of revolution to the confusions of assimilation with the larger world.” — Kirkus Reviews
“Beautifully written and carefully crafted, satisfyingly weaving together its twists and turns.” — India Today
“This tale of Zubaida’s search for her true identity, and the romantic and professional choices she makes along the way, provides a gripping conclusion to Anam’s insightful and enlightening trilogy.” — Booklist (starred review)
“A novel of heart, brain, and muscle - the competing pulls of history and love are evoked here with a rare honesty, and great skill.” — Kamila Shamsie, author of BURNT SHADOWS
“Expansive yet intimate, weighty yet incisively funny, THE BONES OF GRACE is a powerful examination of what it means to live in a world of collapsing boundaries and conflicting values. Few people write about identity and culture with such elegance and intelligence as Tahmima Anam.” — Tash Aw, author of Five Star Billionaire