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Arif Anwar

Arif Anwar was born in Chittagong, Bangladesh. He earned both a masters and doctorate in education from the University of Toronto. His PhD dissertation is entitled Non-literate and Low-literate Mobile Phone Users: Do They Acquire Literacy? Anwar worked for BRAC, a non-governmental organization based in Bangladesh and with UNICEF Myanmar. Today, he lives and works in Toronto.

Fiction

The Storm: A Novel

Toronto: HarperCollins, 2018.
PS8600 .N92 S86 2018

Publisher’s Synopsis (From its website)

Ma misses the sun, warmth and colors of their faraway homeland, but her daughter sees magic in everything — the clouds in the winter sky, the “firework” display when she throws an armful of snow into the air, making snow angels, tasting snowflakes. And in the end, her joy is contagious. Home is where family is, after all.

Inspired by the 1970 Bhola Cyclone, in which half a million people perished overnight, The Storm seamlessly interweaves five love stories that, together, chronicle fifty years of Bangladeshi history.

Shahryar, a recent Ph.D. graduate and father of nine-year-old Anna, must leave the US when his visa expires. As father and daughter spend their last remaining weeks together, Shahryar tells Anna the history of his country, beginning in a village on the Bay of Bengal, where a poor fisherman and his Hindu wife, who converted to Islam out of love for him, are preparing to face a storm of historic proportions. Their story intersects with those of a Japanese fighter pilot, a British female doctor stationed in Burma during World War II, a Buddhist monk originally from Austria, and a privileged couple in Calcutta who leave everything behind to move to East Pakistan following the Partition of India. The structure of this riveting novel mimics the storm itself – building to a series of revelatory and moving climaxes as it explores the many ways in which families love, betray, honor, and sacrifice for one another.

Selected Criticism and Interpretation

Anwar, Arif, “Arif Anwar, March 8, 2019,” interview by Kim Davids Mandar, In Appropriate: Interviews with Canadian Authors on the Writing of Difference (Guelph: Gordon Hill Press, 2020), 65-72.

Links

Arif Anwar’s personal website

Publisher HarperCollins Canada