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The Shape of Family: A Novel by Shilpi…
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The Shape of Family: A Novel

by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

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A special thank you to Edelweiss and HarperCollins Canada for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The Shape of Family is an intimate look at a family fractured by an unspeakable tragedy. Jaya and Keith meet in 1988 at a pub in London—she is the cultured daughter of an Indian diplomat and he is a middle-class banker from Philadelphia. Their union results in a house in the suburbs of California complete with two children; Karina is the oldest, a typical strong-willed teenager, and Prem, their treasured youngest.

When an unspeakable tragedy happens, the Olanders are not immune and the family splits. Jaya turns to religion taking and takes comfort in her spirituality. Keith puts all his energy and attention into his career and women. Karina exercises her independence, trying to regain control of her life, and Prem watches it all unravel.

Karina's self-destruction is exacerbated when she goes away to college—this should have been her new beginning. Desperate for the love of a family, she makes a choice that ultimately forces her immediate family to deal with their painful past and the roles they've played.

A solid 3.5 stars.

This novel was incredibly captivating from the onset. It is a brilliant character study about a family that is torn apart by tragedy, unspoken grief, and regrets. It is a quiet study on a tender topic in that grief is deeply personal—everyone mourns differently.

However, the different between 3.5 and 4 stars was Karina's disintegration. Without giving too much away, the narrative veers into a storyline that I not only detached from, but grew incredibly frustrated with. And then the novel ends rather abruptly.

There is no denying that Gowda is a beautiful and riveting writer, and I would definitely recommend this book. ( )
  GirlWellRead | Nov 29, 2019 |
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