Arts, Culture & Media

A novel set during Pakistan's civil war

The novel -- by Bangladeshi writer Tahmima Anam -- is called "A Golden Age." The novelist didn't have to go far when researching the era. Her own grandmother lived through it and had plenty of stories to tell. (the events in this book were precipitated by an election that had gone wrong back in 1971). Exactly, back in 1971, Benazir Buttho's father kept the incumbent from being elected and that set off carnage, many people killed and now we have a novel about it. (She sets the book against the backdrop of an insurgency but it's also a book about personal relationships between the main character and her two children. How does the personal reflect with the history of the time?) The recognizes the tragedy of this family. The mother loses her children, it takes a year to be able to get the kids back and she's always having to make tough choices, the tough choices of war. (And this is partly based on what happened to the author's grandmother. Let's listen to what the author had to say). The character is loosely based on my grandmother, she was widowed at a young age, raised her children alone, and her home became the center of resistance. So her character is kind of an accidental revolutionary. (The trajectory of this character, how does that evoke the history of the period?) Well she's good at this because she gives us good details. This makes the novel spring out. We believe it then. (It gives us a better image of the war as well). Well right, daily life does go on during the war. Both the war and the little details.