Boring, plodding prose and poor characterization, except for maybe Rehana, the main character, undermine this otherwise decent story. The story is set in the early 1970's and revolves around Rehana, a widow who lost her children after her husband died for lack of resources to care for them, and the regained them back. Her children, while in college, become involved in the East Pakistan political movement that eventually leads to the civil war and breaking off and formation of a new country, Bangladesh. Her children lead Rehana into the mess of "revolutionary" politics and Rehana has a secret of her own that barely keeps the reader somewhat interested. But in the end, the writing style is turgid, with only small signs of life.
Five stars with a flaw. Many of the other reviews will give you a synopsis, so I'll skip that. A Golden Age reminds me a bit of Tolstoy or Chekhov in that we are aware, and even privy to great events, but our focus is on the individuals rather than the events. That point of focus allows the humanity of the participants to shine through from their smaller stages, rather than the great stages of revolution or war. A Golden Age takes us into families, and households to show us daily life in a time … more
In East Pakistan in 1971, Rehana Haque is celebrating the anniversary of her children's return, the guns of war sounding on the horizon, the coming independence of Bangladesh as yet a dream in the minds of revolutionaries. But Rehana has restricted her needs and dreams to her household, to the lives of her children, seventeen-year-old Maya and nineteen-year old Sohail. Soon after the death of Rehana's husband, the children were removed from her home by her brother-in-law until such time as the mother … more