Bone And Bread Paperback – Mar 11 2013
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Bone & Bread engages. Nawaz... is successful at building nuanced characters and reflecting the uneasy and untidy nature of family relationships. (Nadia Kidwai Winnipeg Free Press 2013-03-30)
Nawaz draws the core relationships with immaculately rendered delicacy; she gives the narrative time and space to unfold and evolve in a way that carries uncanny emotional punch. (Ian McGillis Montreal Gazette 2013-03-22)
Bone and Bread... is an emotionally complex, riveting story. [It] is a poignant read, but it captivates because it brims with humanity. Nawaz hustles the reader along with vivid writing, scintillating characters, and the alluring element of mystery. (Jennifer Hunter Toronto Star 2013-03-28)
Bone and Bread is ambitious... Nawaz successfully portrays a strong yet tumultuous bond between the two sisters. (Heather Leighton Globe and Mail 2013-03-29)
Nawaz invites her reader into an intimate and devastating history, and holds you right until the end. (Emily M. Keeler National Post 2013-03-28)
... absorbing... (Athena McKenzie Zoomer 2013-03-27)
Saleema Nawaz’s debut novel Bone and Bread sets poetic prose against the complex mythology of a small family... Nawaz’s wellcrafted narrative and vivid descriptions immerse the reader in Beena and Sadhana’s world. (Maisonneuve 2013-04-01)
Saleema Nawaz returns with a big and beautiful novel... a first novel that rewards the reader's emotional involvement with a quietly tragic examination of the numerous solitudes in the life of one family. (Kamal Al-Solaylee Quill & Quire 2013-05-01)
…emotionally complex and nuanced… (Alexis Kienlen Alberta Daily Herald Tribune 2013-06-20)
About the Author
Saleema Nawaz is the author of the short story collection Mother Superior and winner of the prestigious Writers' Trust of Canada / McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize. Born and raised in Ottawa, Ontario, she currently lives in Montreal, Quebec.
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Top Customer Reviews
As the story progresses into their teenage years it gets a bit more interesting as we see the sisters diverge sharply. Which brings me to another issue: neither sister is sympathetic. Sadhana is self-centred and Beena stubborn to the point where you want to reach into the book and smack her. I have no issue with flawed protagonists, but they should be lovable in spite of, or even because of, their flaws. Instead Beena makes one bad decision after another, seemingly unwilling to grow up and face responsibility for anything.Read more ›
Beena and Sadhana Singh are unlikely heroines. Their parents, a free-thinking Sikh pastry cook turned Jewish bagel shop owner and an Irish mother who teaches yoga and dabbles in Eastern astrology, induct their children into a world of non-conventionalism, self-dependence and resilience. Two years apart in age, the two girls are inseparable. The death first of their father and then of their mother leave the sisters adrift in a world where their only relative is “Uncle,” their father’s younger tradition-bound brother. The lifelong bachelor is incapable of understanding the emotional needs of his nieces, and tries unsuccessfully to inculcate them with old world values and teach them how to be “good girls.” At sixteen, Beena throws herself into her first love, with eighteen-year-old Ravi Pattel, a ‘bagel boy’ in the family business in Montreal’s multi-cultural neighbourhood of Mile End. When Beena becomes pregnant, Ravi slips away, abetted by his upper class Hindu parents. Even Uncle’s attempt to bribe Ravi’s family with a sizable dowry fails to rescue Beena from single-motherhood. While Beena drops out of school and prepares herself for the challenges of being a teenaged parent, Sadhana, unable to overcome the loss of her mother, descends into life-threatening anorexia.
Ironically, both sisters find themselves in the same hospital the day that Beena’s son, Quinn, is born.Read more ›
The novel opens with news of Sadhana's sudden death. Beena, taking on the role of narrator and memoirist, depicts the sisters' physical and psychic connections while also reconstructing the family's past and her own present. She describes her childhood, living in a small apartment above their Sikh father's bagel shop in the heart of Montreal's Jewish community and ultimately dealing with the death of both her parents. When Sadhana's eating disorder takes over her life and Beena becomes pregnant at 16, the sisters' lives diverge into virtual estrangement. As Nawaz writes through Beena, she evokes memories with verve, attacking them with precision and often anger.
Despite an awkward sub-theme of racial politics, "Bone and Bread" delivers a subtle, astute study of sibling rivalry that grasps readers' attention and provokes thought about the solitudes of family life.