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Bone And Bread Paperback – Mar 11 2013

4.1 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 445 pages
  • Publisher: Anansi; 1st Edition edition (March 11 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1770890092
  • ISBN-13: 978-1770890091
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.8 x 21 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 440 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #15,982 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

Review

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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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What a great sisters story!!!!
Saleema Nawaz, writes about two sisters growing up in Mount Royal
who share a birthday, and everything else including some pretty
dark secrets. Sadhana and Beena are polar opposites right down
to their skin color. Throughout the story more and more layers of
their lives are exposed and one minute you're rooting for them, the
next you want to shake them. All in all a great read, full of nuances and
turns. But in the end they are sisters, and will always be attached.
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Format: Paperback
*3.5 star rating*

I was originally captivated by Saleema Nawaz's Canadian-born story after hearing so many positive things about it because of the Canada Reads debate. Sadly, SPOILER ALERT, it didn't win the debate, but it was pretty great anyways. Bone and Bread is a story that not only intrigues readers and keeps them going, but shares so many themes that every reader would love to see in any contemporary story. This is about two sisters who deal with their own problems as young children, but years later, one is left and readers see problems for Beena: she lives with grief for the rest of her life. This is such a beautiful, beautiful story that I cannot forget about.

Bone and Bread. Think about that title and what do you actually think of? I know that I see a dog bone in the middle of two slices of bread. That's it. That title has so much more depth to the story than readers realize. One of the sisters is bone, the other bread. This has so much sense to it. Saleema Nawaz does not create a story that is just about the characters, though. I really enjoyed this one because it kept me hooked. We readers are kept in a story that features a fast-paced plot in a beautiful city, Montreal. I haven't read a Canadian story in a long time, that's for sure.

Looking back at my experience, it could have been better when looking at the grief part of things, but I enjoyed it either way, you know? I felt like I was underwater, trying to swim for the surface at times. I wanted to grasp that extra inch of goodness, but it never came towards me, that last fish. I enjoyed the flashbacks back and forth to the sisters' childhoods and back to where Beena stays on her own. And then of course, there is the mental illness factor that everyone is obsessed with. I'm not complaining.
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Format: Paperback
Remarkable. In the currents of Canadian literature, there are few writers who can meld the longing of the human soul with a story so believable and engaging as Saleema Nawaz has in her debut novel Bone and Bread. Her superb writing lures you first with grief and absence and then seduces you by painting the mundane on a canvas of life’s small absurdities.

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.
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Format: Paperback
I'm afraid to say I was rather bored while reading this book. Not so much that I didn't finish it, but I was a bit frustrated by how ordinary so much of it was. For instance, the first quarter of the book deals heavily with the childhood of two sisters: Beena (the narrator) and Sadhana. We get many details of their relationship, games they used to play, impressions of their city, their parents, and so on. All of it was, to me, quite unremarkable. A fire at their apartment seems designed to inject a bit of action yet it serves no real purpose. Even sudden deaths in the family come and go with little fanfare; we don't see the real impact of these events until later. A good example of the book's slow pace: three-quarters of the way through there is a chapter in which Beena, her son, and her boyfriend go for a hike. That's it. That's all that happens in the whole chapter. I get that she uses the hike to start to build a dynamic between Beena's son and her boyfriend. But this late into the book I would expect stakes to be raised, tension increased. For god's sake, put something on the line. All we get is: Her son doesn't care for her boyfriend, but he's starting to come around.

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.
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