“You were more concerned that slavery should be a moral stain upon white men than by the actual damage it wreaks on black men.”
ebook, 432 pages.
Read from February 25, 2022 to March 6, 2022.
An 8 Sentence Review:
The runner up of this year’s Canada Reads 2022 debate, this is not the author’s first stint in the annual debates.
Washington Black is an accessible and unique story that paints a picture of slavery and racism while taking readers on a unique journey with varying plot points that include aeronautics, marine biology, art, and an arctic expedition. Washington’s story takes him from a plantation in Barbados to the Arctic circle, Canada and even London. It’s by a strike of luck that he gets away from the plantation and that his talents for drawing are recognised by people who both help and use him. Washington spends most of his life on the run but no matter how far he gets he can’t seem to escape his past.
Washington Black is an immersive and enjoyable adventure read but feels more fantastical than most historical fiction novels on this subject. Washington’s story is engaging but was not as potent as some of the other contenders in terms of meeting the Canada Read’s 2022 theme. The author is a talented and capable writer and I would recommend this book to those that are looking for an engaging, easy, and unique historical fiction.
My favourite of the five Canada Reads 2022 contenders too.
ebook, 330 pages.
Read from February 6, 2022 to February 18, 2022.
An 8-sentence review:
This is the 2022 Canada Reads winner and my favourite book of the five discussed. These two often don’t go hand in hand. This is a phenomenal story of five different Native Americans whose lives were traumatised and brought together by their time at residential schools. The dynamic depiction of the characters and their emotions draw you into their story, along with the intricacies of the suffering inflicted upon them and how it shaped their futures. While the ending is filled with hope, not all of the five get a happy ending. The characters and plot of this story are fictional but the history behind the book and the generational trauma it caused is very real and still lives on today.
This novel deserved the Canada Reads win, with the 2022 theme “One Book to Connect Us”, as this story shows a relevant and important part of Canadian history while following the journey of robust and relatable characters through their struggles. It speaks to our humanity, abilities to help others and as well as our capacity to heal, forgive, and move on. This story is an imperative example of Canada’s history and one that all Canadians and humanitarians should read.
“One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs,
Or the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls.”
ebook, 432 pages.
Read April 7, 2021 to April 13, 2021.
I adored The Kite Runner so I was excited that this novel was picked for one of my book club reads. Hosseini has a magical way with words and characters that can draw in any reader. This novel is also a relevant and timely read with the resurgence of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.
A Thousand Splendid Suns depict the intertwining of two women in war-torn Afghanistan in the 1990s. After her mother kills herself, Mariam, who is still a teenager, is wed to Rasheed, a conservative man that is old enough to be her father. Every decision, dream, and hope Mariam had for her life is robbed from her and she resigns herself to the same misery her mother endured. Unable to give her husband a child, Rasheed’s affections turn into violence.
Laila came from a family that supported her education and individuality, though Laila’s mother was rarely present as she was never able to come to terms with the death of her brother. Laila’s father, however, was there for her and wanted the best for her. Young and in love with her closest friend, Tariq, the support Laila has from her loved ones isn’t enough to stop the war from finding them. When war comes to her doorstep and her loved ones are wiped out, Laila finds herself alone, pregnant, and unwed. Wanting to protect her unborn child she agrees to become Rasheed’s second wife. The dynamic between the Mariam and Laila is strained to start with but during one of Rasheed’s violent outbursts on Mariam, Laila tries to protect her. Eventually, the two form a bond of friendship that makes their married lives bearable. However, war is still all around them and Laila refuses to live her life by the confines of Rasheed.
Hosseini’s ability to create realistic, dynamic, and believable female characters is extraordinary. He depicts the impact of the Taliban regime on women and the suffering that so many of them endured and are still enduring in a remarkable way. The suffering that Mariam and Laila endure is so visceral moving and moving but the bond of love and sacrifice that they share in the end is intensely endearing. Hosseini’s writing is enthralling and beautifully composed and despite its heart retching content, is a novel that I did not want to put down. I love when I beautifully written book is both a stunning piece of literature but also an intensely important book that reflects and brings attention to real-world issues.
With the current state of affairs in Afghanistan, this book is a must-read for everyone though it may be triggering to anyone who has suffered domestic abuse or war-related PTSD.