Welcome! I’m happy to be joining TLC Book Tours for the blog tour of THE SHAPE OF FAMILY by Shilpi Somaya Gowda. Thank you to the author and publisher for the review copy.
Genre: Contemporary Family Drama
Trigger Warnings: child drowning, self harm
Published: March 17, 2020
Source: TLC Book Tours
The Shape of Family was a sad but hopeful story that was beautifully written. I was impressed and moved by the vivid imagery, particularly relating to nature and food. Jaya and her daughter Karina use the language of gardening and growth to heal after a terrible tragedy. Choosing and cooking meals also becomes another way the Olander family communicates when their grief is overwhelming.
I was touched by the relationship Karina had with her brother Prem. They had a special language and bond that was sweet. I also felt strong empathy for Jaya and Keith and how they each handled their grief differently.
Overall it was an intense and moving look at what happens to an Indian-American family during the years after an unexpected death. It covers some difficult subjects, however it would be perfect for readers who enjoy a compelling, slower-paced family drama.
“Deeply involving….Rings so true.” — Emma Donoghue, bestselling author of Room
From the international bestselling author of Secret Daughter and The Golden Son comes a poignant, unforgettable novel about a family’s growing apart and coming back together in the wake of tragedy.
“The Shape of Family is a novel about race and culture, parents and siblings, marriage and love, but most of all, it’s about finding hope after darkness. Shilpi Somaya Gowda is a compassionate and wise storyteller who keeps us riveted from beginning to end.” — Jean Kwok, New York Times bestselling author of Girl in Translation
The Olander family embodies the modern American Dream in a globalized world. Jaya, the cultured daughter of an Indian diplomat and Keith, an ambitious banker from middle-class Philadelphia, meet in a London pub in 1988 and make a life together in suburban California. Their strong marriage is built on shared beliefs and love for their two children: headstrong teenager Karina and young son Prem, the light of their home.
But love and prosperity cannot protect them from sudden, unspeakable tragedy, and the family’s foundation cracks as each member struggles to seek a way forward. Jaya finds solace in spirituality. Keith wagers on his high-powered career. Karina focuses relentlessly on her future and independence. And Prem watches helplessly as his once close-knit family drifts apart.
When Karina heads off to college for a fresh start, her search for identity and belonging leads her down a dark path, forcing her and her family to reckon with the past, the secrets they’ve held and the weight of their choices.
The Shape of Family is an intimate portrayal of four individuals as they grapple with what it means to be a family and how to move from a painful past into a hopeful future. It is a profoundly moving exploration of the ways we all seek belonging—in our families, our communities and ultimately, within ourselves.
About The Author
Shilpi Somaya Gowda was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. Her previous novels, Secret Daughter and The Golden Son became international bestsellers, selling over one million copies worldwide. She holds an MBA from Stanford University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she was a Morehead-Cain scholar. She lives in California with her husband and children.
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