Synopses & Reviews
A vibrant debut novel, set in Brooklyn and Bangladesh, follows three young women and one family struggling to make peace with secrets and their past
For as long as she can remember, Ella has longed to feel at home. Orphaned as a child after her parents' murder, and afflicted with hallucinations at dusk, she's always felt more at ease in nature than with people. She traveled from Bangladesh to Brooklyn to live with the Saleems: her uncle Anwar, aunt Hashi, and their beautiful daughter, Charu, her complete opposite. One summer, when Ella returns home from college, she discovers Charu's friend Maya — an Islamic cleric's runaway daughter — asleep in her bedroom.
As the girls have a summer of clandestine adventure and sexual awakenings, Anwar — owner of a popular botanical apothecaryhas his own secrets, threatening his thirty-year marriage. But when tragedy strikes, the Saleems find themselves blamed. To keep his family from unraveling, Anwar takes them on a fated trip to Bangladesh, to reckon with the past, their extended family, and each other.
“Islam presents an unusual, involving, and evocative rites-of-passage
tale enriched by multicultural, intergenerational, and gender-role
conflicts and questions.” Booklist
“Every detail in this rich novel is evocative of transformation. . . . A
sensitive and subtle exploration of the experience of gender
nonconformity across cultures. . . . A transcontinental,
transgenerational tale of a family and its secrets.” Kirkus Reviews
“It’s a colorful, vibrant world that Bright Lines invites readers to step into and enjoy.” Shelf Awareness for Readers
“A wonderful debut. . . . The beauty of this novel is that it perfectly
merges fascinating narrative, honest characters, and the rich history
and culture of Bangladesh with the juxtaposition of Bangladesh’s past
and future and of that country with America, adding to the reading
pleasure.” Library Journal (starred review)
About the Author
Tanwi Nandini Islam is a writer, multimedia artist, and founder of Hi Wildflower Botanica, a handcrafted natural perfume and skincare line. A graduate of Vassar College and Brooklyn College's MFA program, she lives in Brooklyn.