You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins / ★★★★☆
Summary: It’s the 1970s and Tara and Sonia move from India to London and finally, to New York City, where they work on acclimating themselves to American culture while their mother resists. Flash forward to their daughters living in the 21st century, who have their own – different – problems to face.
And then I catch sight of my reflection. My watery face does look like my mother’s, but I remember the old man who gave us directions. I look closer at the water. I, too, can see the Das family imprint there now. I’m Baba’s girl, too, and nothing will change that.
Genre: Historical fiction/Contemporary/Young Adult
This book is lovely. It tells the story of three different generations of Indian women as they acclimate to American culture and define their identities. As we follow them throughout the years, we watch as society and cultures change around them and the effects it has on how they interact with the world around them, including the ways their own families perceive them and treat them. This book is colorful and pleasant, sad and frustrating, and very sweet. It’s full of beauty and grace and I loved how it wove the narratives of the five different women together.
I will say that I found the first two parts of this book more enjoyable than the last part, which I found slightly more contrived, while the events of the first two parts – about Tara and Sonia – flowed and unfolded more naturally. However, I do think that all parts of this book are important. There was just a slight shift in tone that made these parts feel off from one another.
You Bring the Distant Near is a quick, sweet book that I very much enjoyed, and it is a wonderful window into Indian American culture and generational differences, how they clash but ultimately come together beautifully. This is a fantastic “own voices” book, and it left me feeling light and happy.
I loved the progression and development of the five women in this book. It very poignant and smooth and each woman was very distinct in her personality and her goals. I loved how they related to each and battled each other and fought for one another. There wasn’t one of them I didn’t enjoy reading. If you like books about family, this is a book for you. I will say that my favorite had to be Ranee, the grandmother. She was so strong and funny and smart and I loved her development over the course of the novel, it felt the most satisfying and was the most wonderful to read.
The writing of this book was as colorful as its cover. Everything was very vivid in my mind, no matter where the setting. The descriptions and personalities in this book were very bright. The writing was smooth, pretty, and easy on the eyes, if that makes sense, and I flew right through it.
Was I satisfied?
I think so. This book was very enjoyable and lovely and it was a nice, easy read.