(Author: Sejal Badani) + (Year: 2015) + (Goodreads)
Another gem among my NetGalley finds. To be honest, a couple of months ago I noticed that I lean on very similar books, and most of them aren’t exactly newly published. NetGalley has given me the opportunity to diversify my bookshelf and to read more contemporary literature. But that can be both a good and a bad thing. I’ve stumbled upon some really bad and some really good books lately. Trail of Broken Wings definitely falls with the latter category.
The book tells the story of a family which gets together when the father falls into a coma. One of the daughters, Sonya, has been absent for years. The two who stayed close to home are very different from one another, Marin is a successful business woman, while Trisha is a stay-at-home wife. The family seems somewhat normal from the outside, but it actually has a dark secret which has nearly broken them apart as a family and broken each one of them as a person: their father, now in a coma, has for long years hidden from the outside world his aggression and the violence that he has inflicted upon his family.
I’ve certainly read books that hurt the reader deeper than this one, for example The Kite Runner. However, that doesn’t mean that Trail of Broken Wings doesn’t present some deeply disturbing events. At first I was bored by the black sheep routine that Sonya has, but as the story started to develop and enfold, I realized that this book is about so much more than a girl who decided to leave home but was forced to come back.
Each of the main characters managed to make me feel a whole palette of emotions, sometimes I found them harder to like, and sometimes I found them hard not to pity. Ultimately, I’m satisfied with the character development and the ending. Out of the all three, the two I liked the most where Ranee and Trisha. I think it was meant to be otherwise, with the way Sonya and Marin where described, I felt like they were the characters I was supposed to like. I truly appreciated Marin’s pursuit of Adam, I felt that in her situation I would have done the same and more. Sonya, however, despite the fact that it was said time and again that she was so special and worthy of attention and love, felt forced to me. She was too special a snowflake, and aside from David and Ranee’s attempts to make her seem interesting to the reader, I didn’t feel she contributed to the story in any way. I don’t know if it was the result of it being said too often that she was the invisible child in the family, but she did feel like the invisible main character. Since she didn’t have a personal story, different than the other characters, except maybe for having left, I didn’t care much about her.
Trisha and Ranee however were very interesting to read about. I said above that I liked them. I’m not sure that like is the right word, but I felt like they had so much more going on about them than the rest of the characters. I was intrigued by Trisha even before her whole story was told. And Ranee and her motivations interested me throughout the whole book.
The theme that caught my attention was the loss of your native culture and country. Despite the fact that Brent was the villain in this story, I couldn’t help but feel sad for all of the people who live their countries in search of a better future, only to have all of their dreams, ambitions and desires stepped on and ridiculed by the people who have been more fortunate. What a strange world we live in, all of us are from the same species, yet many feel like they are more special, more human and more deserving than others. What an ugly world.
I wouldn’t call this book a light read but it’s certainly interesting, if at times a bit heavy, or rather – saddening.