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You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins

You Bring the Distant Near (2017)

by Mitali Perkins

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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224884,871 (4.19)3
From 1965 through the present, an Indian American family adjusts to life in New York City, alternately fending off and welcoming challenges to their own traditions.



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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
This was so, so, so good! A family's life over decades, cultural clashes, finding yourself, love - everything a great story needs. ( )
  j_tuffi | May 30, 2020 |
This book traces several generations of the Das family as they move from India to Ghana to London to the United States. Early in the book chapters focus on Starry (Tara) and Sonia as they adjust to life in the United States. Later the book focuses on their daughters and at the heart of the story is Rani, the family matriarch. The family goes through tragedy and triumph all the while exploring what it means to hold on to heritage and to be American. ( )
  ewyatt | Jun 20, 2018 |
Honor book for Walter Dean Myers award ( )
  ChristianR | Mar 7, 2018 |
The story of three generations of Bengali women (from 1965-2006), starting in the middle with sisters Tara (Star or Starry) and Sonia (Sunny or Mishti), as they move from Ghana to London to New York to New Jersey. Their daughters then take over the narrative, and then it loops back to their mother, Ranee, still moving forward in time. Tara and Sonia have the first two thirds of the book, with their daughters Anna (Anu) and Chantal (Shanti) taking over the last third, and Ranee concluding. It's effective, though as a reader I felt most closely connected to and interested in Tara and Sonia, because I spent more time with them. All of the characters are sympathetic, though, as they struggle with the ordinary coming-of-age challenges as well as cross-cultural and racial ones; Tara marries another Bengali man, while Sonia marries an African-American man. The topic of skin color hierarchy comes up frequently, starting when the Das family moves to Flushing and Ranee thinks it's a bad neighborhood because the residents are mostly Black. Chantal's identity is both Bengali and Black, and Anna identifies more as Bengali than American, but both girls work to navigate these identities. You Bring the Distant Near is a wonderful, satisfying story of familial and romantic love.


Where am I from? Can the answer be stories and words, some of theirs, some of mine? (Sonia, 35)

"You read her diary! That's wrong, Ma!"
"I have to find out what's going on in her head, don't I? It's my duty to keep her safe."
"You'll make her dangerous instead." (Starry and Ranee, 75)

Am I ever going to push back when people try to sideline me? (Chantal, 201)

"Not everybody likes change."
"If you don't say yes to change, Anu, life starts to leave you behind." (Anna and Ranee, 230) ( )
  JennyArch | Feb 13, 2018 |
I enjoyed the book, but I do not understand how it ended up on so many best of 2017 lists. It covers three generations of women in the same family and their stories are told in a series of vignettes, but some of the stories are not that interesting and some of the characters change in ways that are not revealed in the novel and those changes would have been interesting to experience. I wanted more and felt somehow unsatisfied at the end of the book. ( )
  SGKowalski | Jan 22, 2018 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mitali Perkinsprimary authorall editionscalculated
Gonzales, CassieCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Northeast, ChristianCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Thou has made me known to friends whom I knew not. Thou has given me seats in homes not my own. Thou has brought the distant near and made a brother of the stranger. I am uneasy at heart when I have to leave my accustomed shelter; I forgot that there abides the old in the new, and that there also though abides.

- Rabindranath Tagore, from "Poems"
For Jacqueline Perkins Draine, my American mom
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The swimmers have finished their races and are basking in the sun.
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