The Shape of Family by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

WOW. This book is amazing. Let me start off by saying, this book is only available in Canada right now. I was lucky enough that my husband had to travel there a few weeks ago for work and he picked me up a copy! (It will go on sale March 17,2020 in other countries). This book is not “happy” will open your eyes to several different kinds of pain. Without giving too much away….I do want to put a “warning” out there.. This book has a character that engages in self-harm (cutting/intentional infliction of pain upon herself), so if that is a trigger for you, this book may not be right for you. It does deal with some other hard stuff as well… death, divorce, etc. With that being said…it’s a beautiful story. The characters all have their chances at telling their stories about the same situation they had to endure. It really shows how tragedy effects all individuals differently.

The Olanders embody a modern family in a globalized world. Jaya, the cultured daughter of an Indian diplomat and Keith, an ambitious banker from middle-class Philadelphia, meet in a London pub in 1988 and make a life together in suburban California. Their strong marriage is built on shared beliefs and love for their two children: headstrong teenager Karina and young son Prem, the light of their home.

But love and prosperity cannot protect them from sudden, unspeakable tragedy, and the family’s foundation cracks as each member struggles to seek a way forward. Jaya finds solace in spirituality. Keith wagers on his high-powered career. Karina focuses relentlessly on her future and independence. And Prem watches helplessly as his once close-knit family drifts apart.

When Karina heads off to college for a fresh start, her search for identity and belonging leads her down a dark path, forcing her and her family to reckon with the past, the secrets they’ve held and the weight of their choices.

The Shape of Family is an intimate portrayal of four individuals as they grapple with what it means to be a family and how to move from a painful past into a hopeful future. It is a profoundly moving exploration of the ways we all seek belonging — in our families, our communities and ultimately, within ourselves.”


GoodReads Rating: 3.8
Page Count: 352

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