Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Atlas of Unknowns by Tania James

This was given to me by Ally at Simon & Schuster UK.

Linno and Anju are sisters from Kerala. Anju wins a scholarship to New York through somewhat dishonest means. In New York she meets a friend of her mother (who died when she was very young) and begins a roller coaster ride of immigration and self acceptance. Meanwhile, Linno is struggling to find her own way in Kerala. Angry with her sister and with herself, she doesn't come to realize how much she loves her sister until she is gone. Linno becomes the head designer for an invitations company and begins a journey of soul searching. In the end, each sister wants nothing more than to be reunited.

Tania James has an amazing talent. Her story literally leaps off the pages. Reading this book was more like watching a beautiful film. Every scene was detailed so that I could see it exactly. The characters are also vivid and fully developed. I could never really bring myself to like Anju, preferring Linno, Rohit, and Melvin. There is no great sense of suspense, but all the same I found myself thinking about this book when I wasn't reading it - wondering what would happen next. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. That being said, the ending undid the spell for me. I'm sure there was some deep and meaningful point in the ending of this book. Perhaps I am not a deep and meaningful person. There were too many loose ends. Without giving too much away, the ending made most of the struggle within the book seem pointless to me.

Despite my opinion of the end of this story, I will certainly recommend it to others. It doesn't fit any genre that comes to mind, I would just classify it was "literature" and move on. I look forward to reading the future works of Tania James.

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