Touching, provocative, and poetic, The Bones of Grace brings to life one of the world’s most turbulent places. Yet the novel achieves its power not by focusing on political unrest but by chronicling the difficult life transitions of a passionate young woman. Zubaida startles and fascinates as she questions cultural tradition and personal loyalty, and it’s thrilling to cheer her on at every turn.
...the emotions of characters Zubaida and Anwar, which she lays bare in prose at once raw and lyrical, will hook you by the heart and reel you in. A good thing, too, because otherwise you wouldn’t get to savor the way the author (finally) ties together their two story lines ... The trilogy concludes with a flourish; The Bones of Grace not only surpasses its muddled predecessor, The Good Muslim, but outdoes , A Golden Age, despite the latter’s greater kinesis.
Anam deftly explores historical complexities while vividly dramatizing Zubaida’s struggles to discover lasting love, meaningful work and her true parentage ... Anam’s novel is a seductive, lively end to the trilogy. It is also wordy at times — more than 100 pages longer than each of the previous books — perhaps because Anam is naturally most captivated by the concerns of her own generation.
For those lucky enough to now be discovering Anam for the first time, a priceless literary gift awaits: to experience three generations of the remarkable Haque family – without interruption ... introspection, emotions, and attachments that illuminate this narrative, complete with rapid heartbeats and breathtaking sighs. Perhaps because Anam draws on personal details Grace proves to be the most intimately affecting of her three titles.
The Bones of Grace is a long novel; intricately structured, it attempts to reassemble all its floating clues and end at its starting point, with its heroine reconstructing an elliptical past and searching for an elusive future. In a sense, Elijah represents the reader, who has to understand the narrative burden this novel shoulders: personal destinies and public roles, national and international economies of desire and labour, and – perhaps most compellingly – the shadows of a traumatic past which nearly destroyed a nation.
Anam comes at history — big and small — from several directions, but these jostling elements create a sprawling, scattered effect, however adept Anam is at bringing them to a final, tidy close. The love story at its centre is not entirely convincing, either ... The novel comes most alive as a domestic story, raising questions around family and belonging.