By Aliyyah Eniath
Speaking Tiger Books, April 2016, 284pp
The Short of It:
An engaging family tale.
The Rest of It:
From the publisher:
Behrooz is brought to The Yard, a familial housing complex in Trinidad and Tobago, where he struggles to belong. His adoptive father is kindhearted, but other family members are guarded about the new addition. They contend that Behrooz will betray his family by defiling his adoptive sister, Maya, a rebellious girl who was not romantically forbidden to him under Islamic Law.
Behrooz and Maya form a childish alliance and later, struggle with romantic attraction. After they share a night of adolescent tenderness, Maya, fearing retribution, flees to London where she pursues her artistic talent. Behrooz painstakingly rebuilds his life and marries another. When tragedy strikes, Maya returns to her childhood home. There, she and Behrooz must face up to old demons. Can their love endure? Even after Maya is dealt the most “righteous” blow of all?
This book was a bit of a surprise for me. I’m not sure what I expected but I didn’t expect to be pulled into this family’s story so quickly. Behrooz’s situation tugged at my heart. Abandoned with no place to go, he is quickly taken into this family but not without angst. Maya is quick to share her displeasure but when the two forge a bond, I can’t say it was surprising when their attraction for one another grew, but it added just enough conflict for the story to hold my interest.
Parts of the story seemed a little too easy or maybe developed too quickly? But overall, I found myself completely absorbed with this family’s story. I feel that the author did a good job of portraying the family itself and although much of it takes place in The Yard, I felt as if I got enough from the setting to understand the motivation of some of the characters.
In the end, I am glad I read it and enjoyed it even though it’s quite different from what I normally read.