The Storm by Arif Anwar

The Storm is a beautifully woven tale that skips across time and geography to bring the reader into the life of Shar, a Ph.D student and policy wonk who has overstayed his student visa in the United States.  Things are complicated.  He has a daughter, but he is not married to her mother.  If he leaves and cannot return, he risks never being able to see Anna again.  But Shar’s story does not start and end with him.  There are layers of character, the passage of time, the vagaries of culture and a pinch of the supernatural.  Before Shar, there was the partition of India and Pakistan. There was a sailor with black sails;  there was a storm.

The storm is more than an event of nature, it is the swirl of events which bring people into each other’s lives.  The storm is the government, the storm is human desire, the storm is fate. Told from multiple points of view over decades, The Storm shows us real humans at their best and at their worst.  Those who want to make the world better and those who care only for themselves at this  moment.  The plotting is tight, the characters are fully developed, and even though some only have walk-on roles, there are no extra characters—every single one does something important to move the story forward. There is a lot of grief in The Storm, but there is beauty to balance it. Read it, and I promise you won’t be sorry.

This month’s tea treat recipe combines bananas and pineapple, two crops grown in Bangladesh, the setting for parts of The Storm. Be sure to serve it with Black Tea, also grown there.

Published by Robin Henry

Independent Scholar and Book Coach specializing in Historical Fiction and Literary Fan Fiction.