Author: Shilpi Somaya Gowda
Genre: Literary Fiction
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: March 17, 2020
Book Description: From the international bestselling 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 Shape of Family is a novel about race and culture, parents and siblings, marriage and love, but most of all, it’s about finding hope after darkness. Shilpi Somaya Gowda is a compassionate and wise storyteller who keeps us riveted from beginning to end.” — Jean Kwok, New York Times bestselling author of Girl in Translation
The Olander family embodies the modern American Dream 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.
Rating: 4 Stars
Review: This is a moving family drama that will rip your heart out and slowly put it back together. The story of the Olander family, who are raising their diverse family in California.
At the start of this story, you meet Jaya and Keith parents to Karina and Prem. They have what feels like an idyllic family but an event happens that will tear this family apart. At the crux of this story is Karina who believes that she is at fault for the now hole in her family.
As the years pass you will follow Jaya on her spiritual journey, Keith who puts his head down into his very successful career, Karina as she goes onto college, and Prem who can only watch what is happening around them.
What I find amazing in this book, as Karina comes to the crossroads in her life, her family will make decisions that will support and uplift her. This is not a perfect story, but it is perfect for depicting this very real feeling family. Life is not perfect and somehow the author has captured this and said everything is going to be ok.
Perfect for fans of the family drama genre. I just loved following this very imperfect family find a way to come together when family is absolutely needed most.
Thank you NetGalley and William Morrow for an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.