Hot damn, there’s a whole lot going on in Tanwi Nandini Islam’s Bright Lines, which I received in the now defunct Book Riot Quarterly Box. Most authors couldn’t handle this many plotlines and so many rich, interesting characters without confusing the reader or watering down parts of the story or turning the story into a 1,000+ page tome. Thankfully, Islam is not most authors and she did an incredible job.
The story closely follows Ella and Charu, cousins who were raised as sisters after the death of Ella’s parents. They live with Charu’s parents, Hashi and Anwar, in Brooklyn – which is quite different than Charu’s native Bangladesh.
There are so many stories woven together in this book: Ella’s gender and sexual identity, Charu’s failed attempts to gain the physical intimacy she’s missing, Anwar’s difficulty with, well, most things . . . and it goes on and on.
This was a book that was just absolutely dazzling to read. Following several characters to India was icing on this complicated, rich cake. I liked this book when I read it a few months ago but after having had some time to sit on it, I’m awed by how much it was able to accomplish.