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The Direction of the Wind

Rating: 3 out of 5

"One of life's greatest cruelties was that those who were innocent suffered more than those who inflicted the harm."
"She has been so broken and so lost in the depths of her mind for so much of her life."

Sophie Shah was six when she learned her mother, Nita, had died. For twenty-two years, she shouldered the burden of that loss. But when her father passes away, Sophie discovers a chance of hidden letters revealing a shattering truth: her mother didn't die. She left. Nita had everything most women dreamed of in her hometown of Ahmedabad, India- a loving husband, a doting daughter, financial security- but in her heart, she felt like she was living a lie. Fueled by her creative ambitions, Nita moved to Paris, the artists' capital of the world-even though it meant leaving her family behind. But once in Paris, Nita's decision and its consequences would haunt her in ways she never expected. Now that Sophie knows the truth, she's determined to find the mother who abandoned her. Sophie jets off to Paris, even though the impulsive trip may risk her impending arranged marriage. In the City of Light, she chases lead after lead that help her piece together a startling portrait of her mother. Though Sophie goes to Paris to find Nita, she may just also discover parts of herself she never knew.

I have mixed emotions about this book and some of them if explained in detail are very spoilery. So I'm going to do my best to do this review without spoilers. I honestly had to force myself not to DNF this one because of the author's style and the way she presented the environment and characters. I understand that I don't know much of the culture Sophie is from, but at times it felt like the author was actively insulting the culture. I just felt like she took great pains to infantilize Sophie, she's 28 but often it felt like she was a teenager.

Sophie learns her mother didn't die when she was younger and because she has now lost her father decides to go on a quest to find her. She is depicted as incredibly naive and I think the author worked to hard to try to make Sophie seem different from her mother; by showcasing her mother's hatred for the life she left and showing Sophie clinging to it instead. It was nice to get the two perspectives from both women. However, the more I learned about the mother along the way the more I wished Sophie would never find her.

I was incredibly disconnected with these characters, not because of cultural issues but because they go on this self discovery quest and neither seems to find themselves like at all. I really wish I could have liked Nita, but her choices were all terrible and the justifications were no better. The book had some sweet moments and some moving instances but other times just felt so ridiculously impossible. Overall, this one wasn't for me but I would say give it a shot.

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