Lake Union Publishing: 5/1/2015
eBook review copy, 378 pages
Trade Paperback ISBN-13: 9781477822081
My thoughts:When her father falls into a coma, Indian American photographer Sonya reluctantly returns to the family she'd fled years before. Since she left home, Sonya has lived on the run, free of any ties, while her soft-spoken sister, Trisha, has created a perfect suburban life, and her ambitious sister, Marin, has built her own successful career. But as these women come together, their various methods of coping with a terrifying history can no longer hold their memories at bay.
Buried secrets rise to the surface as their father - the victim of humiliating racism and perpetrator of horrible violence - remains unconscious. As his condition worsens, the daughters and their mother wrestle with private hopes for his survival or death, as well as their own demons and buried secrets.
Told with forceful honesty, Trail of Broken Wings reveals the burden of shame and secrets, the toxicity of cruelty and aggression, and the exquisite, liberating power of speaking and owning truth.
Trail of Broken Wings by Sejal Badani is, if you can bear with it, a recommended tale of abuse in a dysfunctional Indian family. The individual story of their lives and abuse is told by each character in their own voice in separate chapters.
Ranee has tried to be a good Indian wife, submitting to every wish her husband Brent voices, as well as his beatings. She knows that "the men, the father and the husband, were two sides of the same coin. Both owned you and could do with you what they wished." She and Brent have three girls, Marin, Trisha, and Sonya.
Marin is the oldest daughter and a driven woman. Her marriage to Raj was an arranged marriage. They have a 15 year old daughter Gia. Brent beat her as a child and controlled her life.
Trisha is the second daughter and was Brent's favorite. He never beat her and allowed her to marry the man of her choice.
Sonya, the youngest, left her family years ago, after college. She was beaten the most and told all through her childhood that she should have been aborted. Working as a photographer, she has traveled the world and never came back to see her family.
When their father, Brent, falls into a coma their mother, Ranee, wants her three daughters with her. Much to everyone's surprise, Sonya comes home. As each character faces the demons from their past and faces the hurts and challenges of the present day, the complete story of their lives is told and hidden motives and memories are revealed. The secret shame they all carried from their beatings is revealed along with the legacy it has left behind.
The writing is this novel is excellent and almost lyrical at time. I can't fault the writing for my negative feelings toward Trail of Broken Wings. Nor can I fault the presentation. Having the characters speak their truth and tell their story through their own voices in their chapters is very effective. It is the subject matter and all the violence toward women that is hard to stomach. I almost stopped half way through, telling myself that it was enough. I didn't need to read any more about this dysfunctional family full of misogynistic violence. I was struggling to relate to these broken women and some of their choices.
Disclosure: I received an advanced reading copy of this book from Lake Union Publishing and TLC for review purposes.