In the weeks leading up to the expiration of his visa, a recent PhD graduate and father unravels his history that meaningfully connects various lives in 1942 Burma, 1946 India, 1970 Bangladesh, and the post-9/11 United States.
Although historical events sweep into the characters' lives in a variety of devastating ways, this is ultimately a celebration of family and the sustaining power of love. With a sprawling cast of vividly drawn characters, most of whom must negotiate a dizzying array of religious, economic, and national boundaries, this powerful and important debut is a story for our time ... Essential for fans of literary fiction.
Arif Anwar’s first novel, The Storm, is a fascinating, ambitious work, stretching across decades and countries and capturing troubled moments in each ... Shahryar’s ties to the other characters in the novel and the strange ways in which their lives are connected form the central mystery of the book ... The segments set in Bangladesh are the most powerfully written, with a clear and definite authority ... We enjoy details that bring alive everyday life ... A powerful natural backdrop is home to all this, harsh yet majestic ... The world of Bangladesh is rife with contradictions ... Much of the charm and power of The Storm lies in negotiating this push and pull between the hero and the trickster, the magical and the mundane—and Anwar has handled it beautifully.
Arif Anwar's debut novel ... drills down to an almost microscopic viewpoint to explore Bangladesh’s struggle for independence through intimate, interconnected stories that span 60 years. The result is less like a catastrophic flood and more like an illustration of the butterfly effect ... The Storm ends up as a richly realized, instructive tale about what to do with people set adrift by major disturbances, and about filtering broad strokes of storm data to study individual people who follow some rules and break others to find security and do what they think is right.