Everything Was Good-Bye

Gurjinder Basran. Penguin/Pintail, $16 trade paper (272p) ISBN 978-0-14-318681-6
Basran’s raw, sad debut tells the story of Meena’s struggle between her desires and her Indian family’s traditions. In 1980s Vancouver, teenaged Meena, the youngest of six sisters, chafes against her widowed mother’s strictures, made worse by the fact that her older sister, Harj, ran away. When Meena starts hanging out with Liam, a white boy from school who shares her love for post-punk music and her outsider’s view of the world, she longs to give in to her deepening feelings for him, but she knows she can’t hurt her mother that badly. After Liam leaves Vancouver, breaking Meena’s heart, Meena enters into a loveless arranged marriage with spoiled “catch” Sunny Gill and begins a trance of unhappiness broken only when she runs into Liam at a party. With Sunny in India for six weeks, Meena and Liam tumble into a torrid affair that reopens the same questions about love and approval. When Meena’s choice becomes even more complicated, the odds of disaster rise, and Meena must finally find her inner strength. Basran writes with insight and humor, balancing the tragic bitterness of Meena’s struggle with an easy style that pulls the reader along. Agent: John Pearce, Westwood Creative Artists, Canada. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 12/03/2012
Release date: 12/31/2012
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-1-896949-07-9
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-14-318257-3
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