You Bring the Distant Near
Five girls. Three generations. One great American love story. Ranee, worried that her children are losing their Indian culture; Sonia, wrapped up in a forbidden biracial love affair; Tara, seeking the limelight to hide her true self; Shanti, desperately trying to make peace in the family; Anna, fighting to preserve her Bengali identity.

You Bring the Distant Near Details

TitleYou Bring the Distant Near
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseSep 12th, 2017
PublisherFarrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
ISBN-139780374304904
Rating
GenreYoung Adult, Historical, Historical Fiction, Contemporary, Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Family

You Bring the Distant Near Review

  • Kaylin (The Re-Read Queen)
    January 1, 1970
    4 StarsA book about five complex Indian women and their relationship with culture and race?? How is nobody talking about this gem??Starting in the 1960s and working towards modern day, this follows a young Bengali family as they move to NYC-- notably Ranee and her children, Tara and Sonia. As the story continues on, we learn more about these characters (Tara secretly wants to perform on stage; Sonia joins the 70s feminist movement) and more are introduced, making this book primarily character-dr 4 StarsA book about five complex Indian women and their relationship with culture and race?? How is nobody talking about this gem??Starting in the 1960s and working towards modern day, this follows a young Bengali family as they move to NYC-- notably Ranee and her children, Tara and Sonia. As the story continues on, we learn more about these characters (Tara secretly wants to perform on stage; Sonia joins the 70s feminist movement) and more are introduced, making this book primarily character-driven. All of the women are complex, flawed and interesting. Several of the characters make mistakes, or have opinions different than the rest of their family and it feels fantastically realistic. This portrays Bengali culture in a fascinating and nuanced way. From what I can tell, this is an ownvoices novel, and I believe it shows not only in the nuances but the overarching theme that there isn’t a wrong way to be Bengali. Despite not being as conservative as her cousin, Anna, Shanti fights for Anna's right to modesty. Some of the characters are religious, others aren’t. Some are more sex positive, others crave their independence. They all embrace their heritage, but in different and unique ways. Overall, this has some fantastic things to say about race, and opens up some brilliant discussions. Each of the characters has their own perspective on their race and culture, as stated above, and their interactions clearly show this: “Who decided having less pigment in your skin was more attractive than having more melanin?" ”I’m not ashamed, but I no longer have a mannequin’s body. I don’t need one.” “I’m not black enough for some people, but I’m not Indian enough for other people.” She’s a Bengali feminist Catholic wife of a Louisiana black man. “Now that’s American,” she always says. As much as I enjoyed this, I did have some problems with the lack of plot and abrupt ending. But more so, I was annoyed by the awkward and repetitive romances. While several of the character’s love interests were interesting (my favorite was Louis and his blended Louisiana perspective) the way the romance progresses were all really similar. It basically went: Boy likes girl, girl is hesitant or doesn’t feel the same way, girl eventually comes around. The boys were never pushy, and I really appreciated this. (There’s a whole point where one character talks about a boy’s kindness makes him really attractive to her and YES GIRL. Give me a kind soul over a chiseled jaw anyday.) But not only was it repetitive, but it doesn’t feel realistic for it to happen five times. Overall:I’m still super surprised more people aren’t talking about this book. Ownvoices Indian culture represented in five strong, complicated women. The plot and romance were lacking, but the character’s really drove the story. I received an ARC of this through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, thanks to Farrar, Straus and Giroux, for the opportunity!(quotes not final)
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  • Joce (squibblesreads)
    January 1, 1970
    One of my favorites of the year. - Spans countries and multiple generations of women- Discusses intersectional issues- Complex characters that stay with you for the whole book- Introduces vocational trade careers in high school like fashion, and sports played in India- Talks about Islamophobia and prejudice against women who wear headscarves and hijabs, and changes in attitude after 9/11It’s so good. I’m obsessed.
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  • katwiththehat
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you so much to NetGalley and Macmillan for allowing me to read and review this absolutely beautiful book by Mitali Perkins. What a gorgeous read. I absolutely devoured this multi-generational tale of love and family as seen through the eyes of a Bengali-American family.The book this reminds me the most of is the "Joy Luck Club" although I found this far more humorous and uplifting. It begins in Ghana with a pair of sisters as young girls, and we get to watch little vignettes of their lives Thank you so much to NetGalley and Macmillan for allowing me to read and review this absolutely beautiful book by Mitali Perkins. What a gorgeous read. I absolutely devoured this multi-generational tale of love and family as seen through the eyes of a Bengali-American family.The book this reminds me the most of is the "Joy Luck Club" although I found this far more humorous and uplifting. It begins in Ghana with a pair of sisters as young girls, and we get to watch little vignettes of their lives as they grow, move around the world, find parts of new cultures to make their own, and parts of their Indian heritage that are true no matter where they live. It was especially beautiful to read because there was such a contrast presented in experiences. Sonya, one of the sisters, is strikingly different in personality and life choices than Tara, the other sister. Watching them grow, their mother experience life in an entirely new way, and the experiences of Sonya and Tara's children made the book just feel very whole and complete. It is very much a women-centric book. And while I think some books seek to horrify and shock, Mitali Perkins did such a lovely job of presenting her material gracefully. In making little moments count in big ways. I cried at the end. Truly beautiful. I would give this 6 stars if I could, and it's definitely going on my favorites shelf. 5/5 stars.Please excuse typos. Entered on screen reader.
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  • Tatiana
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 starsA story of cultural adjustments told basically in a series of romantic relationships. It is also "issue"-driven, but not entirely bluntly so.
  • Olivia (The Candid Cover)
    January 1, 1970
    When a book grabs hold of you and keeps you engaged right up to the end, it is safe to say that it is going to be a favourite. You Bring the Distant Near is a beautifully written saga that tells the story of the Das family and their experiences immigrating to the United States. Told in alternating perspectives, Perkins gives her readers so many unique and interesting points of view through her well-developed female characters. The Indian customs and culture that are told throughout this story ar When a book grabs hold of you and keeps you engaged right up to the end, it is safe to say that it is going to be a favourite. You Bring the Distant Near is a beautifully written saga that tells the story of the Das family and their experiences immigrating to the United States. Told in alternating perspectives, Perkins gives her readers so many unique and interesting points of view through her well-developed female characters. The Indian customs and culture that are told throughout this story are so insightful and add to the magic of the narrative.Having never read any of Perkins’ novels before, I was so thrilled to read the delightful You Bring the Distant Near. The writing is absolutely breathtaking and the descriptions of the various settings are vividly told. Most of the story takes place in the United States, which has a setting that is relatable to some. However, when the story shifts to India, it is as if you are transported along with the characters, as they are reacquainted with their old ways of life.It is hard to choose which of the five Das females is the one that I enjoyed learning about the most. Each of these ladies have such different personalities, that as the events unfold, you really get a taste for the different perspective each one brings. Ranee, the grandmother, is the character that definitely surprised me the most. She is so head strong and stubborn in her desire to ensure that her daughters maintain their Indian culture as much as possible. Ranee is the one that definitely goes through a significant transformation and is such a fun character to read about.The one thing that gives You Bring the Distant Near its unique flavour is the way Perkins has added bits of Indian life into the book. The Indian phrases and pronouns that the family uses are seamlessly included in the story. They are explained in a way that helps readers unfamiliar with certain words to understand their meaning without distracting from the narrative. Food plays a large role in the book, and you will be salivating for a taste of Ranee’s infamous chicken by the end of the story. Even the clothing that is so important to all of the females in the book, adds a feeling of culture and personality to the story. Also, the music that plays a large part of maintaining the family’s heritage almost seems to play in the background as you are reading.If you are looking for a diverse read, You Bring the Distant Near is the one that should be at the top of your list this fall. The writing is gorgeous and the characters are so relatable and interesting. All of the Indian culture that is sprinkled into this book will have you lusting for a taste of the food, clothing and traditions yourself.
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  • Shelly
    January 1, 1970
    Quite honestly one of my favourite reads of the year. In a little over 300 pages, Perkins manages to make you fall in love with 3-generations of the Das family and feel like you're right there along for their journey. You Bring the Distant Near is about identity, change (denial and acceptance of it) and the bond between sisters and family. I loved it and I know it's a novel that'll stay with me for a while. I highly encourage you to add it to your TBR pile if you haven't already done so.
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  • Mitali
    January 1, 1970
    I wrote it, so if I don't love it, then who else is going to?
  • Fatma
    January 1, 1970
    This was enjoyable, but so, so simplistically written. I couldn't engage with the story at all because it felt so transparent, like there was nothing underneath its words for me to grapple with. To put it simply, the storytelling was straightforward to the point of being reductive. Frankly, it ended up feeling like more of a middle-grade than a YA book to me. That's not to say that middle-grade is bad, just that it's not a genre I typically reach for or enjoy. That being said, I don't want to un This was enjoyable, but so, so simplistically written. I couldn't engage with the story at all because it felt so transparent, like there was nothing underneath its words for me to grapple with. To put it simply, the storytelling was straightforward to the point of being reductive. Frankly, it ended up feeling like more of a middle-grade than a YA book to me. That's not to say that middle-grade is bad, just that it's not a genre I typically reach for or enjoy. That being said, I don't want to undermine how diverse You Bring the Distant Near is. It covers a host of intersectional issues, and I never want to take that for granted. But unfortunately, it was the execution more than the content that left a lot to be desired for me. I'd still recommend reading this, though. The characters are likable enough (albeit a little one-note), and its multigenerational aspect makes it a quick, expansive-feeling read.
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  • Saajid Hosein
    January 1, 1970
    This book brought the distant near, but left my wig distant. Loved it! One of my new faves. Read it immediately.
  • Jananee (headinherbooks)
    January 1, 1970
    This was a wonderful multigenerational tale that follows a Bengali family who immigrate to America and mainly revolves around 5 women and their different relationships with culture, identity, feminism, religion and so much more. Not only was this a fantastic portrayal of South Asian culture and familial dynamics, it also explored biracial identity, Islamaphobia and anti-Blackness within Asian communities and was just a really great read all up.
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  • Lilly (Lair Of Books)
    January 1, 1970
    ***5 STARS***Full review can also be found on Lair Of Books:https://lairofbooksblog.wordpress.com... PLOT You Bring the Distant Near truly felt like a gift I was unwrapping Christmas morning. It’s not often that we get stories based on Indian culture yet here we have a multi-generational book spanning the lives of 5 women in the Das family. We first meet Ranee & Rajeev Das, the parents of Tara & Sonia Das as they move from Bangladesh to London & finally Queens, New York. Rajeev Das i ***5 STARS***Full review can also be found on Lair Of Books:https://lairofbooksblog.wordpress.com... PLOT You Bring the Distant Near truly felt like a gift I was unwrapping Christmas morning. It’s not often that we get stories based on Indian culture yet here we have a multi-generational book spanning the lives of 5 women in the Das family. We first meet Ranee & Rajeev Das, the parents of Tara & Sonia Das as they move from Bangladesh to London & finally Queens, New York. Rajeev Das is a hard worker & provider for his family, his wife Ranee wants them to own a beautiful home in a safe neighborhood. The Das family has very humble beginnings in a apartment in Queens that is located in a predominantly black neighborhood. We see Ranee struggle with her own prejudices & how her fear leads her to restrict Tara & Sonia. We also get an inside look on her marriage & the disconnect that often leads to arguments in the Das home. Underneath it all however, is a whole lot of love. This book truly has it all! the immigrant experience, marital woes, intersectional issues, colorism, feminism, Islamophobia, complex characters and so much more. I couldn’t put this book down other than to shed some tears every now & again. Seeing three generations of women try to retain some of their culture while also trying to fit in to their new lives was rewarding for me as a reader. Having had some of my own family immigrate from Salvador to the United States, I knew assimilating would be difficult but never really thought about how difficult it must be to try & retain some of their own culture. I found myself rooting for these characters to win their battles & stand up for what they believe is right. This isn’t by any means a fast paced book, it is however a heart warming read that gives you a inside look to a culture & people not often seen in YA books.CHARACTERS The author kindly included a family tree at the very beginning of the book but I found I didn’t really need it since the characters were very well fleshed out. 5 women’s stories spanning over 3 generations, all so very different from each other but the one thing they have in common is their wish to hold onto some if not all of their roots. I LOVED all of these characters, they’re the type to stick with you way after you’ve read the last page.Rajeev & Ranee Das- mother & father to Tara & Sonia are struggling to meet eye to eye when it comes to settling down on a place to live. Rajeev is sweet & the definition of a proud & doting father. He has a ton of love for his daughters & I found myself crying the most whenever he interacted with Tara & Sonia because this is the closest a character has come to resembling my own father & how he cared for my sister & I. Rajeev is incredibly supportive of his daughters & encourages them to follow their dreams. Our matriarch Ranee Das on the other hand is the law in her home & perhaps has the most character growth in this book. She has a ton of prejudices to sort through & we get to see her struggle with her marriage, daughters, grand daughters and her own internal struggle to both let go & hold on to some cultural beliefs. I loved seeing how realistic this marriage was portrayed & the underlying love that shines through.Tara & Sonia Das- Since the majority of this book is told in alternating POV’s between these two sisters, I felt that I really got to know them. Tara aka Star is in love with acting, drama, entertaining, and fashion. She loves studying different icons on tv & imitating their style. This is something she sees as a useful tool whenever she has moved to a new country & started a new school. Tara is also the sister everyone considers the beauty who is sure to find a suitable husband. Sonia aka Sunny is a reader & writer, she loves retreating into her own world where she can journal & read non-fiction. The move to NYC places her on course to becoming a feminist & activist. I enjoyed seeing the contrast between Sunny, Star, and Ranee. Sunny is very vocal in squashing any prejudices coming from her mother which is why they clash the most. Sunny is also of darker complexion & we see the affects of colorism both in her home & with other Indian neighbors.Chantal & Anna- the daughters of Sunny & Star, the latter part of YBTDN is told in alternating POV chapters with these cousins. We still get to see their parents but the focus shifts to their high school lives. Chantal is Sunny’s daughter & she is trying to find peace between her two grandmothers. Chantal is bi-racial & we get to see the very realistic familial battles that take place when two very different cultures come together through marriage. Anna is Star’s daughter & she for the most part has been raised in Mumbai. Her parents do travel with her to & from NYC to Mumbai but she has no interest in American life. We see her get uprooted & the difficulties she faces when trying to hold on to her roots.Grandma Rose- doesn’t come into the picture til’ we meet Chantal later in the book but I seriously LOVED seeing her duke it out with Ranee for title of best grandma. Grandma Rose is black & is very involved in Chantal’s life. I loved seeing her pride & confidence in Chantal, she really is her #1 fan. Some of my favorite scenes were those between Rose & Ranee, these two had me smiling & shaking my head.WRITING & FINAL THOUGHTS Rich in culture & family dynamics, You Bring the Distant Near is easily a top contender for my top 10 favorite books of this year. For any bookworms looking for #ownvoices reads, I highly recommend picking this book up. In just 320 pages we get wonderful character development & a ton of tough topics thrown in the mix making this one hell of a journey. I felt a range of emotions seeing this family try to set down new roots in a strange land while also learning to adapt when life throws you a curve-ball. I also found myself wanting more story once I finished reading & perhaps that’s due to how well it was structured. The alternating POV chapters between Sunny & Star and later their daughters Chantal & Anna really allow you to form attachments. This bookworm would love to see more of the Das family & their growing pains. I am so happy to have read YBTDN & wish only to see more from this author in the very near future *fingers crossed**HUGE thanks to Macmillan Children’s Publishing, Netgalley, and Mitali Perkins for the eGalley copy of You Bring the Distant Near in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Rose
    January 1, 1970
    Review to come sometime soon. This was an excellent tale of multicultural teens from one family through the generations. Each young woman had a distinct personality and set of experiences that really stuck with me. One of my favorite reads this year.
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  • CoffeeAndBooks21
    January 1, 1970
    I started reading this on the bus ride to school and finished it within a few hours! A wonderfully engaging read. You Bring The Distant Near is centered around five complex, strong women as they detail their experiences navigating life, friendships and first loves all while grappling with their identities, cultures and personal beliefs. Written in numerous perspectives, readers are swept right into the lives of these delightful characters.The main thing that I enjoyed about this novel is how wel I started reading this on the bus ride to school and finished it within a few hours! A wonderfully engaging read. You Bring The Distant Near is centered around five complex, strong women as they detail their experiences navigating life, friendships and first loves all while grappling with their identities, cultures and personal beliefs. Written in numerous perspectives, readers are swept right into the lives of these delightful characters.The main thing that I enjoyed about this novel is how well developed the characters are. Each woman in the Das family is unique and multi-faceted. Mitali Perkins truly delves into each of the characters, tapping into their beliefs, frustrations, fears, and passions in order to create a well-rounded person that springs to life as opposed to a flat silhouette on the pages. Each woman has a distinct personality and this brings a fresh perspective to the events that occur throughout the story. Almost all of them undergo significant transformations as the story progresses and it only serves to enhance the grounded, candid nature of the story, adding a very realistic and believable element as the women work to correct their flaws, grow, learn and adapt. Aside from the impeccable character development, You Bring The Distant Near provides readers with a very rich and enthralling style of writing that is highly descriptive without being tedious. Through Mitali Perkins’ narration and with the help of the characters’ eloquent voices, readers are transported constantly, whether this is to a cramped and congested flat…I mean, apartment, in Queens, New York or to a sweeping, picturesque view of the Ganges river, Mitali Perkins has the unique ability to move the reader along with her characters. On top of this, the way in which Mitali Perkins effortlessly scatters in different dimensions of the Bengali and Indian cultures gives the reader a special sense of understanding. Whether this is done with descriptions of food, clothing, customs or music, readers gain a little more insight, allowing them to feel closer to the characters and much more in touch with the charm of this story. I have to say, the most beautiful thing about this book is the way in which the striking Bengali culture is depicted throughout. Mitali Perkins emphasizes the fact that each individual can and should express his/her culture in the way that they see fit. Though all the women in this story are different, they all showcase various aspects of Bengali culture in their own unparalleled way, further stressing the idea that culture is unique to the individual and the expression of one’s roots should stem from personal convictions and judgments. Overall, this book will definitely be one of my long-time favourites. It explores important and original topics regarding, culture, race, and identity all while using compelling female voices to tell the tale. I would highly recommend this book to anyone, especially if you are in the mood for a diverse read! The writing style is riveting, the characters have a relatability that transcends age, race and cultural barriers and the story itself is pure magic!
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  • Maraia
    January 1, 1970
    I highly recommend You Bring the Distant Near. This may be a short novel, but it has a lot to say. It deals with race, religion, immigration, multiculturalism, multiple generations, and fitting in somewhere new. These are the kind of stories we need!4.5 stars
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  • Kate Olson
    January 1, 1970
    I absolutely LOVE this book! It may be categorized as YA but I honestly think it would do equally well or better marketed as a grown up read. Fabulous.
  • Aneta Bak
    January 1, 1970
    You Bring the Distant Near is a wonderful and heartwarming novel about what it truly feels like to be an Immigrant in another country.There are three options for an Indian girl, either study hard and become a doctor, study hard and become an engineer, or get married off. This rule isn't a problem for Sonia, she has outstanding grades, the issue is that she has fallen in love with an African-American man. Tara doesn't have the grades to become an engineer or doctor, and time is running out for he You Bring the Distant Near is a wonderful and heartwarming novel about what it truly feels like to be an Immigrant in another country.There are three options for an Indian girl, either study hard and become a doctor, study hard and become an engineer, or get married off. This rule isn't a problem for Sonia, she has outstanding grades, the issue is that she has fallen in love with an African-American man. Tara doesn't have the grades to become an engineer or doctor, and time is running out for her before her parents arrange a marriage for her. Her true passion is acting, preforming on stage is the only thing Tara wants to do.The story and the lesson this book teaches is absolutely amazing. Not a lot of people can see this side of immigration, the wanting to stay true to your home land while trying to blend in to the culture of the place you live in. This book shows you the three separate generations and how they dealt with this, and every single one of their stories was absolutely beautiful and truthful. I loved reading about this part and I wish more people would read this book just to understand what it feels like to be an Immigrant.The reason why my rating is so low, is because that I found this book to be a tad boring and very slow paced. This book mostly focuses on the relationships and how the family deals with problems. There is barely any action, and the book stays at the same pace for the whole book. There is no rising action or plot twists or anything of that kind, just relationships. While I loved reading about the family it self, I would have liked it more if there was at least a bit of action to make the story go by faster.Overall, I really enjoyed this book and the characters that were in it. All immigrants can relate to this, and if you're not an immigrant I still highly recommend this book, it's a wonderful way for people to see into the lives of immigrants without being one.Happy Reading,Aneta
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  • Kelly
    January 1, 1970
    A complex and lovely intergenerational story about culture, about citizenship, about family, and romance. Each of the five characters are distinct, but what I loved is seeing where and how each of the five women make one another whole -- and how their different interests and passions run through their family. My only real complaint is that the sudden shift to focus on Didu/Ranee in the end is sudden and that the pacing in this book is sometimes a little uneven. I think that's because I could hav A complex and lovely intergenerational story about culture, about citizenship, about family, and romance. Each of the five characters are distinct, but what I loved is seeing where and how each of the five women make one another whole -- and how their different interests and passions run through their family. My only real complaint is that the sudden shift to focus on Didu/Ranee in the end is sudden and that the pacing in this book is sometimes a little uneven. I think that's because I could have easily read another 100 pages more, fleshing out even further their experiences throughout the years. Pass along to readers who are part of immigrant families, who love intergenerational stories, who want books from voices which are exclusively diverse, and/or readers who love interesting love stories.
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  • Jane
    January 1, 1970
    Wow, this was wonderful.
  • Samantha (WLABB)
    January 1, 1970
    Yeah, I am crying again -- happy tears, I swear! That was really special. I just wanted to stay with the Das women forever! ----------------------------------------------------------------------------This was such a beautiful multigenerational story, that carried us through forty years of fierce Das women. I fell in love with this family, and just didn't want the book to end.•Pro: This was a heartfelt look at a family's history. We celebrated with the Das family, as well as grieved with them. We Yeah, I am crying again -- happy tears, I swear! That was really special. I just wanted to stay with the Das women forever! ----------------------------------------------------------------------------This was such a beautiful multigenerational story, that carried us through forty years of fierce Das women. I fell in love with this family, and just didn't want the book to end.•Pro: This was a heartfelt look at a family's history. We celebrated with the Das family, as well as grieved with them. We experienced their joy and their pain. •Pro: Getting to spend so many years with these women allowed me to form an extremely detailed picture of who they were. We watched Tara and Sonia grow up, and we also saw Mrs. Das evolve. •Con: I would have liked a little more of Shanti and Anna's story, but it's just because I really cared about what happened to them. •Pro: I loved all the cultural aspects Perkins shared with us. I found so many of the traditions quite lovely, but what I really adored, was my trip to Bangladesh! Perkins did such a great job bringing us there with her descriptions of the sights and sounds, smells and tastes. •Pro: Yes, I loved the sensory part of my trip to Bangladesh, but I really loved what happened to Tara when she was there. I could not wipe the stupid, sappy grin off my face for quite a while after that part. •Pro: There were a lot of interesting ideas about race and culture explored. I especially connected with Shanti. When she said, "I'm not BLACK enough for SOME people. I'm not INDIAN enough for OTHER people," it struck a chord with me as my daughter is biracial, and was often considered not asian enough. •Pro: I really appreciated the pro-American sentiment in this book. The current climate makes me quite sad, because I am first generation, and was raised to appreciate how my family benefited from coming to the US. This country is not perfect, but we are afforded a lot of privileges that one cannot have in other places. It was nice to see that this was acknowledged in the story. •Pro: I just never wanted it to end. I could read about these women until I mourned each of their deaths. They were just such wonderful characters. Overall: A gorgeously written tale of five fierce women intertwined with thoughtful observations on culture and race from multiple perspectives, which I am so happy to have read. BLOG | INSTAGRAM | BLOGLOVIN | FRIEND ME ON GOODREADS
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  • Clare Snow
    January 1, 1970
    "I like having three Indian grandparents, four if you count my dead grandfather. Here in New York, or back in India, they make me feel grounded. Like a tree with long roots."I like this. A sweeping family saga across three generations of a Bengali family in the US and India. I would never have picked it up if not for the Lit CelebrAsian Book Club https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/... It's their Feb/Mar book. There's twitter chat 24-25 March @LitCelebrAsian Looking forward to it.And my first b "I like having three Indian grandparents, four if you count my dead grandfather. Here in New York, or back in India, they make me feel grounded. Like a tree with long roots."I like this. A sweeping family saga across three generations of a Bengali family in the US and India. I would never have picked it up if not for the Lit CelebrAsian Book Club https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/... It's their Feb/Mar book. There's twitter chat 24-25 March @LitCelebrAsian Looking forward to it.And my first book for the Aussie Readers March Challenge finished. https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...
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  • Nancy
    January 1, 1970
    This multi-generational story was about the Das family, a globe trotting Bengali family that coped with keeping traditions alive yet acclimating to American society. We meet sisters Sonia and Tara in the early 1970's once they move to NY, and they are fully fleshed out with distinct personalities and aspirations. We have time jumps throughout the book, so we can see how the family has changed after a few years in America and who the girls married, but then significant jumps have us meet their da This multi-generational story was about the Das family, a globe trotting Bengali family that coped with keeping traditions alive yet acclimating to American society. We meet sisters Sonia and Tara in the early 1970's once they move to NY, and they are fully fleshed out with distinct personalities and aspirations. We have time jumps throughout the book, so we can see how the family has changed after a few years in America and who the girls married, but then significant jumps have us meet their daughters Anna and Chantal in the late 90's and onward. The book started out strongly and I was very invested in Sonia and Tara and their enigmatic mother Ranee. I would have liked more backstory on Ranee to explain why she was the way she was. But later on, the love matches for the sisters were perfunctory and Tara's career as a Bollywood actress didn't seem real at all. Cousins Anna and Chantal weren't fully developed, and Ranee's complete transformation at the end didn't ring true. While I was pleased that the author is #ownvoices and brought a unique and welcome new voice to young readers, the strong start didn't follow through to the end. The novel is actually a 3.5/5 rating, but I'd rather round up than down since it had important themes of family, heritage and diversity in it and could provoke some important discussions among teens.
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  • Tanita S.
    January 1, 1970
    This book is a crossover; the characters are young people who age throughout the book, making it heartfelt and accessible for people of all ages. This book is worth every single one of the four starred reviews it has earned so far in print journals ... and many more.Sometimes you need a hopeful book to lift you out of the realities of this world. It's not like there's no pain here, but there's HOPE to lift you aloft, and as Emily Dickinson says, it sings, and "it never stops at all." Absolutely This book is a crossover; the characters are young people who age throughout the book, making it heartfelt and accessible for people of all ages. This book is worth every single one of the four starred reviews it has earned so far in print journals ... and many more.Sometimes you need a hopeful book to lift you out of the realities of this world. It's not like there's no pain here, but there's HOPE to lift you aloft, and as Emily Dickinson says, it sings, and "it never stops at all." Absolutely filled with heart and soul and gorgeous. Pick it up, pass it around, and gift it to your mother and gran. Just beautiful.
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  • Natalie
    January 1, 1970
    2.5 stars I was incredibly enthusiastic about the premise of this book--three generations of women in an Indian family, going through life and love--but none of the characters ever really came to life for me and quite a few of the plot developments passed by too quickly to really have an emotional impact.
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  • Shenwei
    January 1, 1970
    really loved this book. it explores the experiences of being an immigrant, being multicultural, and being multiracial through the stories of five women in three generations of an Indian Bengali family loving in New York. they had distinct personalities and their own ways of seeing the world. also loved the explicit feminist themes. :)
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  • Mwinchester97
    January 1, 1970
    Everyone has been sleeping on this book! My review won't do this book justice but it was incredible!You Bring the Distant Near follows a Bengali - American family through three generations. We have the mother Ranee, her daughter's Sonia and Tara, and their daughters Chantel and Anna. They had to deal with the trials of living their day to day lives while being from a different country.Ranee wants everything to be wonderful for her family and worries that her daughters are losing their Indian cul Everyone has been sleeping on this book! My review won't do this book justice but it was incredible!You Bring the Distant Near follows a Bengali - American family through three generations. We have the mother Ranee, her daughter's Sonia and Tara, and their daughters Chantel and Anna. They had to deal with the trials of living their day to day lives while being from a different country.Ranee wants everything to be wonderful for her family and worries that her daughters are losing their Indian culture. Ranee did a total 360 during the book but honestly I didn't mind. It showed a lot of growth. Anna's and Chantel's relationships with her were different but felt equally special and strong.Sonia is smart and wants to do what she wants to do and she does it. I can relate a lot to her. I really like when we got to go to Paris with her. I thought the scenes were particularly well written.Tara is the older sister and she wants to be an actress. She doesn't it always speak up for what she wants but when she gets the chance she really shines. I thought she had a great way of adapting to American culture.Chantel, Sonia's daughter, lives in America with her to parents. She is Black and Bengali. She is realistic and she felt very real. I love the fact that she did what she wanted to do but yet respected her parents cultures. Anna, Tara's daughter , wants to hold on to her Indian culture when she moved to America. She tries very hard to hold what is dear to her close. She is also into fashion and I really love the scenes in the school with her. It was really quite neat the way she brought her family together for what they did in the school.This is definitely a character-driven novel.I found the romance aspect enjoyable but they seemed a little bit quick and just kind of pop up. I wish the auother would have spent a little more time developing them.This is a beautiful portrait of what happens when two cultures clash and what compromises they make to live and thrive.I recommend this book to everyone.
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  • Sinead (Huntress of Diverse Books)
    January 1, 1970
    Check out my book blog for more book reviews and other bookish posts!I read You Bring the Distant Near as it was a Lit CelebrAsian book club pick. As most of you will know, I absolutely adore intergenerational stories, especially when they are set in South Asia and South-East Asia because I can relate to them a lot.This book is #ownvoices for Indian representation.__I really don’t know how I can put to words how this book made me feel. I almost cried while reading it; I was feeling a type of lon Check out my book blog for more book reviews and other bookish posts!I read You Bring the Distant Near as it was a Lit CelebrAsian book club pick. As most of you will know, I absolutely adore intergenerational stories, especially when they are set in South Asia and South-East Asia because I can relate to them a lot.This book is #ownvoices for Indian representation.__I really don’t know how I can put to words how this book made me feel. I almost cried while reading it; I was feeling a type of longing. A longing for a part of the world that is part of me, but yet, due to being diaspora, I feel disconnected from.I loved that we got to see the perspective of five different women of the diaspora. Every one had a different experience, which shows that not everyone in the diaspora is the same.This book discussed a lot of important themes: colourism, anti-blackness, being multiracial, immigration, living in the diaspora, and Islamantagonism come to mind.Ranee brings up an interesting point during one of the argument with Sonia. Namely, that feminism can also learn a lot from India. I feel that white feminism is often focussed on the ideas and developments of the West, and sees other countries as lesser.__You Bring the Distant Near is a beautiful, beautiful story. It was such an emotional read and it gave me this sense of belonging. I could see parts of myself in some of the characters.Trigger warnings: N-word is used and called out, colourism.
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  • Shanah
    January 1, 1970
    Wow! This book was just SO beautiful! I was a little nervous going into it though. After reading the first two chapters I closed the book and set it down on my shelf. I was scared to pick it up again because I felt like I was going to hate it. We are introduced to two sisters (Sonia and Tara) and their mother. I made assumptions about all 3 of them based on those first two chapters, and it worried me that it would be more of that same attitude and behaviour the whole way through….. not the case. Wow! This book was just SO beautiful! I was a little nervous going into it though. After reading the first two chapters I closed the book and set it down on my shelf. I was scared to pick it up again because I felt like I was going to hate it. We are introduced to two sisters (Sonia and Tara) and their mother. I made assumptions about all 3 of them based on those first two chapters, and it worried me that it would be more of that same attitude and behaviour the whole way through….. not the case. Watching these three women (along with 2 other children/grandchildren down the line) grow, learn, and evolve was just so stunning and heartwarming.I absolutely adore books that explore the balances of culture vs society. Stories that follow the struggle of knowing who you are and who you should be (also whether or not society’s beliefs should effect your place in the world) are so fascinating to me. In fact, this is one of the most well done books in that aspect! Here is why I think so: This book follows 3 generations. We have the Grandmother Ranee, her two daughters (Sonia and Tara), and the granddaughters (Chantal and Anna). Each of these women are in different places in their lives and each has different things that they value above others. The chapters showcase their different points of view and we as the reader get insight into why they think the way they do, what events in their lives brought them to their conclusion, and how they work as a family through it all. Them working together was possibly one of the most beautiful things about this story. They realize that it’s ok to be who you are, no matter what society thinks of you, and it’s ok to have desires even if they go against your nature or follow too closely to what people expect of you. I hope all of that didn’t confuse you but I’m having a hard time putting my thoughts into words! I enjoyed this book so much and felt such a connection with each of these women – yet I can’t really explain why. This is just a book that you have to feel and experience. It can’t be explained.The characters were wonderful! Each for their own reasons. At first I hated the mother Ranee. Her actions, emotions, and word choices just made me mad. In the end I felt most sorry for her as she is the one who spent a longer time in India and was more firmly rooted in a non American culture, so adjusting would have been so much harder. The sisters, Sonia (Sunny) and Tara (Starry) were such a great team! So supportive in literally every way as they navigated their new life and adjusted to American culture. I don’t have siblings, but if I did, I wish I could bond and know each other so completely like they did. Tara first comes off superficial and annoying. She seemed to be most willing to change who she was to be accepted. Strangely enough it was her character arc I enjoyed the most and her falling in love made me cry. Yes, I cried! Sadly, after her marriage, her character just fell away unlike all the rest and that really annoyed me! Sonia (Sunny) started off such a quiet little book worm and she is the one that changed the most. The grandchildren, Chantal and Anna were just as wonderful and it was great to see how much had changed for them after being in America for so long.The writing isn’t super fast paced. This is more of an emotional, slow burning, character driven story. There are little twists and turns that each character takes as they grow, but nothing drastic. So if you’re looking for fast pace this isn’t for you. But if you’re looking for a well written emotional story with multiple points of view that will capture your attention – this IS for you!I wish that I could say a little more, but as I said above, this is a story that must be experienced for you to really understand. It’s labeled as a YA book, but I know that this is something that anyone of any age can relate to. I actually will be recommending this one to my mom and my daughter! It was such a well written story, a very quick read, and so emotionally complex. I will be sure to keep an eye out for more books by this author!For this review and many others please visit - https://bionicbookwormblog.wordpress.com
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  • Greyson (Grey) Edwards [Use Your Words]
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Netgalley for providing me an advanced reader copy in exchange for my honest review.Where am I from? Can the answer be stories and words, some of theirs, some of mine?Why is no one talking about this book?? If you've marked this book as to read you need to get on it asap because it's such a beautiful novel. You Bring the Distant Near follows the lives of five Indian women, three generations, from West Africa to London and to America and India. We get a glimpse into the lives of Indi Thank you to Netgalley for providing me an advanced reader copy in exchange for my honest review.Where am I from? Can the answer be stories and words, some of theirs, some of mine?Why is no one talking about this book?? If you've marked this book as to read you need to get on it asap because it's such a beautiful novel. You Bring the Distant Near follows the lives of five Indian women, three generations, from West Africa to London and to America and India. We get a glimpse into the lives of Indian women who have settled in America to live the American Dream. This book deals with cultural and race issues with five very strong and different women in the forefront. Although this book does include love interests they never take the limelight. "You read her diary! That's wrong, Ma!"Ma closes the incinerator door and raises her palms in the air like she's praying. "I have to find out what's going on in her head, don't I? It's my duty to keep her safe." [...]"You'll make her dangerous instead," Starry answers. The first characters we meet in You Bring the Distant Near are Ranee and her daughters Tara and Sonia. Ranee Das just wants the best for her daughters, she wants them to marry well but she also wants them to have careers so that they are never dependent on their husbands like she is. Tara is kind and gentle like her father and a natural actress. Everywhere they move to she plays a new part, becomes a new version of Tara. Girls follow her, boys chase after her. She wants to make a career out of her acting but she's not sure her parents will approve. Sonia is loud and opinionated much like her mother. She loves to read and write. She clashes with Ranee a lot, leaving Tara to try and mediate for them constantly but Sonia and Ranee hit their biggest fight when Sonia falls for an African American. Chantal is Sonia's mixed race daughter. Very much like her aunt, she becomes the peacekeeper between her Grandmother Das and Grandmother Johnson. Anna has all the fire of her aunt Sonia and Grandmother. But having grown up in India and then completing high school in America is a shock to her system. I should be glad it went badly, I suppose, but I sigh instead. Poor Didu!Shanti looks at me."What?" I ask."It's kind of creepy to hear our grandmother's exact sigh coming out of you, Anu."This story is a very much character driven story and with such strong female characters, exploring the dynamic of mother/daughter, sister, and cousin relationships, it doesn't need to try to be anything else. All the women are multi-dimensional, complex characters who live full lives and experience complex relationships with their female relatives. This book is about family, change, sexism, race, it tackles so much in such a short time but it's not in your face, it's a gentle story that lets it's characters shine. "If you don't say yes to change, Anu, life starts to leave you behind."___│Blog│Instagram│Twitter│Tumblr│
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  • Steph
    January 1, 1970
    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 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.CharactersI 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.WritingThe 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.
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  • Joséphine (Word Revel)
    January 1, 1970
    Initial thoughts: This book is so beautifully written! And so close to my heart. The immigrant and third culture kid experiences don't feature often in YA fiction, so I'm extra happy You Bring the Distant Near does these justice. It's about the lives of five Bengali girls and women in New York, covering three generations within their family over the span of several decades. It was interesting to see how much changed and how much didn't.The book was broken down into various sections focussed on t Initial thoughts: This book is so beautifully written! And so close to my heart. The immigrant and third culture kid experiences don't feature often in YA fiction, so I'm extra happy You Bring the Distant Near does these justice. It's about the lives of five Bengali girls and women in New York, covering three generations within their family over the span of several decades. It was interesting to see how much changed and how much didn't.The book was broken down into various sections focussed on the varying perspectives in different stages of the characters' lives. I think it's great that that included girls from young through to their adult years and even the perspective of a grandmother trying to come to terms with where is home. I loved reading about how they tried to fit in, make friends and yet not betray their identities and cultures. Props for including a biracial character as well!Some parts reminded me of my own experiences, such as enrolling in new schools and having to fight for my place not just with peers but the administrations too. Then there's the disconnect with pop culture, and self-consciousness over my accent. Also, being perceived to be of particular races I didn't identify with. While my own parents never prized lighter skin colours over darker ones, I did experience that with parents of my friends, who ironically, didn't like me because even though my father was white and they weren't, they decided I was too dark/tanned, and so, didn't think I was good enough to be in the company of their children.
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