Home of the Floating Lily by Silmy Abdullah is a collection of eight short stories based on the lives of Bangladeshi immigrants in Toronto.
The various protagonists have a connection with Bangladesh and Canada. The stories are independent and not related to each other. The author has addressed varied themes such as love, betrayal, friendship, and family. What binds them all together is the common thread of migration. Humans migrate across the comfort of home, and their boundaries in search of better opportunities and a better life. However, for the dream to become a reality, there are many bridges to be crossed, many adjustments and compromises to be made.
As an immigrant myself, I could relate a lot to the characters. Their journeys, longing and belonging closely similar to mine and countless other people living far away from their motherland.
The characters in all the stories are as close to reality as possible. Their fears and flaws are etched in an honest and forthcoming manner. Be it the streets of Dhaka, or Crescent Town and Oakridge in Canada, the portrayal is almost lifelike.
All the stories brush upon human emotions and values. Be it Shumi of A Good Family or Abid of A Secret Affair. Their turmoil, hopes, dreams and sacrifices touch a chord. It may be their journey, but it can be yours or mine too! The unlikely friendship between Amina, a servant and Reema, a university student in Across the Ocean is deeply touching. All the Adjustments is my favourite story in this book. Familiar Journey addresses Islamophobia, a grave concern in our current world.
The Middle Path is another story, which I liked a lot. A mother’s sacrifices for the sake of her children, her life revolving around theirs, and then to be disconnected and disappointed was a sad reality of many families. The ending is heartwarming and beautiful. Reflections is the only story which did not bide well with me. Home of the Floating Lily, the last story narrated from varied POVs is a touching story of homecoming, of finding your loved ones and the place one can truly call home.
Despite the trepidations the characters undergo, the ending is optimistic and promising. Kudos to the author for that. After all, hope is all one needs to keep going!
Apart from stirring deep emotions, these stories also give a glimpse of Bengali culture, customs, traditions and food habits. Silmy’s flawless writing and deeply engaging narrative make this for a wonderful read. Not with a whoosh, but with a slow, gentle caress the stories sucked me in.
Thank you NetGalley for the free ARC.
Wordsopedia rating 4/5
|Title: Home of the Floating Lily||Author: Silmy Abdullah|
|Publisher: Dundurn Press||Publication date: June22, 2021|
|Genre: Fiction–Literary||Format: Paperback|
|ISBN: 9781459748170||No. of Pages: 208|
About the Author
Silmy Abdullah is a Bangladeshi-Canadian author, lawyer and social justice advocate. Her debut collection of short stories, Home of the Floating Lily, explores the Bangladeshi immigrant experience in Toronto. Set primarily in a Bengali neighbourhood in the Scarborough/East York Area, close to the Danforth and Victoria Park intersection, the stories are inspired by her own lived experience as an immigrant, as well as the work she does in her community as a lawyer.
Get in touch with the author on her website