For fans of The Burning Girl by Claire Messud and Burnt Sugar by Avni Doshi, a stunning, gut-punch of a novel that follows a young Indian American woman who, in the wake of tragedy, must navigate her family's expectations as she grapples with a complicated love and loss.
The second novel from poet, photographer and author Laskar, Circa follows Heera and her friend Marco as they try to navigate their changed lives and find a way back to each other after their youthful rebellion leads to a sudden and devastating loss...Heera also must balance the expectations of her Bengali-American family with her own desire for freedom and the life in New York she imagined she'd lead before the night everything went wrong...As lyrical and rebellious as Heera herself, Circa comes highly recommended for fans of Claire Messud's Burning Girl.
Growing up in 1980s Raleigh, Heera longs to be a normal American teenager. But her Bengali parents are strict and unyielding on everything from clothes to food, unwilling to adapt any more than they must to the country they immigrated to before Heera's birth...Heera struggles to find the comfort she needs from her parents until further tragedy strikes the family and their close-knit community...This tight, insightful novel is built on familiar themes of struggles in immigrant families between first-generation children and their parents...By following Heera from high school to adulthood, the author teases out nuanced tensions in the parent-child dynamic that add richness to this oft-explored topic...A heartbreaking examination of family ties.
Laskar delivers a poignant coming-of-age story of a Bengali American young woman and the death of her best friend...Further misfortune emerges as Heera's mother is diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome, causing the family to divert Heera's college fund for medical treatments...With few choices, Heera strikes a Faustian bargain of sorts by agreeing to an arranged marriage with a 26-year-old Bengali stockbroker, which would allow her to live in New York City with his family and attend the school of her dreams...The author intertwines lyrical prose with lucid observations...This stands out as a fully realized study of contrasts.