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The Shape of Family

A Novel
Written by: Shilpi Somaya Gowda
Narrated by: Shiromi Arserio, Vikas Adam
Length: 10 hrs and 39 mins
3.5 out of 5 stars (7 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From the international best-selling author of Secret Daughter and The Golden Son comes a poignant, unforgettable novel about a family's growing apart and coming back together in the wake of tragedy.

The Olanders embody a modern family in a globalized world. Jaya, the cultured daughter of an Indian diplomat and Keith, an ambitious banker from middle-class Philadelphia, meet in a London pub in 1988 and make a life together in suburban California. Their strong marriage is built on shared beliefs and love for their two children: headstrong teenager Karina and young son Prem, the light of their home. 

But love and prosperity cannot protect them from sudden, unspeakable tragedy, and the family’s foundation cracks as each member struggles to seek a way forward. Jaya finds solace in spirituality. Keith wagers on his high-powered career. Karina focuses relentlessly on her future and independence. And Prem watches helplessly as his once close-knit family drifts apart. 

When Karina heads off to college for a fresh start, her search for identity and belonging leads her down a dark path, forcing her and her family to reckon with the past, the secrets they’ve held and the weight of their choices.

The Shape of Family is an intimate portrayal of four individuals as they grapple with what it means to be a family and how to move from a painful past into a hopeful future. It is a profoundly moving exploration of the ways we all seek belonging - in our families, our communities, and ultimately, within ourselves.

©2020 Shilpi Somaya Gowda (P)2020 HarperAudio

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Missed Opportunity!

Such a great premise and opportunity to explore an interesting psychological dynamic. It was, unfortunately, squandered by the author for some of the most pedantic and boring tropes I've ever read. Opportunities to explore culture, grief and anger are all brushed aside in favor of a sequence of seemingly random, shallow events. The ending, like most of the book, falls flat and is undeserved. Done properly, this book should be much longer or much, much more focused. At this rate, I feel like I've bought the abridged version.

1 person found this helpful