Atlas of Unknowns by Tania James

I am taking the liberty to put the book description (“The Book” section) from Amazon.com as I felt it pretty much detailed what I would have liked to highlight from the book.

The Book: (Taken from Amazon.com)

In the wake of their mother’s mysterious death, Linno and Anju are raised in Kerala by their father, Melvin, a reluctant Christian prone to bouts of dyspepsia, and their grandmother, the superstitious and strong-willed Ammachi. When Anju wins a scholarship to a prestigious school in America, she seizes the opportunity, even though it means betraying her sister. In New York, Anju is plunged into the elite world of her Hindu American host family, led by a well-known television personality and her fiendishly ambitious son, a Princeton drop out determined to make a documentary about Anju’s life. But when Anju finds herself ensnared by her own lies, she runs away and lands a job as a bikini waxer in a Queens beauty salon.

Meanwhile, back in Kerala, Linno is undergoing a transformation of her own, rejecting the wealthy blind suitor with whom her father had sought to arrange her marriage and using her artistic gifts as a springboard to entrepreneurial success. When Anju goes missing, Linno strikes out farther still, with a scheme to procure a visa so that she can travel to America to search for her vanished sister.

The View:

I have been really slow with this book. The first few chapters dint impress me as much and I decided to let it lie there and continue with packing for my house shifting next month.. that is till I managed to pick it up again yesterday. Once I started with where I left I just could not put the book down.

Atlas of unknowns is a wonderful tribute to the love and bonding of two sisters Linno and Anju Vallara. Linno is the eldest of the two sisters and is a very interesting character. She has only one hand after having lost it in an accident playing with firecrackers when she was young. In spite of her visible deformity, she is very secure and quickly learns to adapt and strive in the midst of all the ridicule she faces. Linno is an extremely talented artist and I had a sense of relief and gratitude when she gains a reputation as one. With Linno, we meet a young girl who has her doubts and insecurities but grows up to be a very impressive strong-willed and secure woman.

Anju on the other hand is a beautiful contrast to Linno. She is very good academically but is unsure of herself and goes through the teenage uncertainty phase for a very long time. The decisions she takes may not always be right like claiming Linno’s art to be hers, then blurting the truth to Fish, running away when she is suspended and then landing in a salon…. but she understands her responsibilities early and bears the brunt of her mistakes very gracefully.

There was no particular character I didn’t like in the book. I felt Tania James had done a fair justification to all the events and characters that made the story and the plot so very incredible. All the elements were beautifully interwoven and pieces of the plot were scattered throughout the book. You had to keep reading to know the complete truth .. ahem story!

I loved the journey that the sisters undertake individually while remaining connected to their past and for that I am rating this a 5 on 5.

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One Response

  1. A great journey with characters you connected with? Awesome. I LOVE when that happens 🙂

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