This was another one of my impulse purchases - the cover looked great, the blurb had my attention, AND, it was on sale. These are not mere excuses because now that I've read it, I can tell you that all put together, they made a fabulous book.
An adult Ferzana Mahmud looks back at that fateful year when she was ten, had lost her mother to cancer, and her father decided to move the family, which included her three older siblings, to his native Pakistan.
Trying to adjust to their new life in Karachi and the eccentricities of their extended family, the four children escape into a world of fantasy. Imagining themselves as super-humans with incredible powers, they begin to investigate the members of their household.
What catches your attention here is how the story is narrated through the eyes of a precocious ten year old. While she may not make sense of everything, Ferzana's age plays to her benefit and it is she who, more often than not, rescues the foursome from trouble. However, underneath all their hullabaloo and the attempted rebellion, there lurks a quiet attempt at uncovering secrets that no one talks about, but which float in the air within the house.
What spoke to me at the core of this novel was how family, love and loss can repair and rebuild broken bridges. A father's dilemma in providing for his children while struggling to mend his remaining relationships; a patriarch torn apart by his past, unwilling to let go of his ego; a family united by name but divided in so many ways; and amidst them all, these children who don't know where they truly belong.
This is a novel that touched a nerve deep within and by the end it is not the revelation of the secret, but the destination that the family's journey together brings them to, that is a realisation of a new dawn.
Those Children by Shahbano Bilgrami. First edition published 2016 by @harpercollinsin.
Aquamarine Flavours Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Five petaled origami flowers topped on LED tea lights for a festive South Asian feel.