I love that this book had me hooked, from the first line of the first chapter. I love how subtle references to deeper events, unexplained, put me in a frenzy roller coaster, making me want to jump into this dark well, where the past of Hajiya Binta lay buried—to find out the inner workings of Yaro, or even little Ummi, to make a connection with an invisible thread, a web to link up with handsome Reza. But then, I try not to make the connections, yet the sleek narrative skills will keep tugging at me, pulling me to that dark well. So I love this book more as I turn over and over, to another chapter.
I love the way I became a resident of Binta’s inner mind, rummage through deep roots of her childhood memories, creating different characters and scenarios, and then striking them out of the equation. I love how Reza is kept initially in a safe distance, and then with a sudden explosion, dropped like a nuclear bomb without fair warning. I loved it even more as I swirled wider within Reza’s motives.
I love how I could see the better side of Reza, feeling pity for this broken boy trying to make a new life. I keep wondering, what drove him to San Siro? I loved and hated that I had many questions about the futility of that relationship, but then I kept rooting for it, even though I believed it might just be destined for tragedy. I love it more when I just cannot figure it out anymore.
I love how I can’t blame Binta for her actions. I always try to justify her shortcomings with her past stories. I love it in a sad way, how this book teaches me about my own country’s history, my own people’s traditions and the tangled web of ethnicity we live in. I really loved it that the story kept nudging me ahead.
I love how my heart jumped in my chest, clenched to my ribcage, trying to understand Fa’iza’s affliction. I love the feeling of knowing her desire to lose herself in books. I love how I cannot do the same with this book because I know it will not end the way I want it to, and I love the fact that I’ll still stick with its pages to the very end.
I love how it gives me a snapshot of the machinations of our country, the manipulations of young minds, the elaborate scheme in plain view, which we just never care to see. Above all, I love how this book shows that life indeed goes on, heedless of our choices.
There are 7 things I love about this book. But what I love the most is that I cannot conjure up enough love as it is to love it even more because reading it is a compulsion. I love that it is one of the most captivating books I have read and that it will stay with me for a very long while.
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