Trail of Broken Wings by Sejal Badani
Published by Lake Union Publishing in 2015
Book 6 in my January Kindle Challenge
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.
I only finished this book an hour or so ago, and I am still not entirely sure how I felt about it. The novel has four narrators – the three sisters and their mother – and two sisters speak in the first person, while the other two are third person narrators. This wasn’t as confusing as it sounds, and all the action is told consecutively, but I am not entirely sure why the shift in narrative styles was needed.
We slowly find out more about the horrible back story of these characters, and while all the sisters have very different personalities, they have all been permanently scarred by the actions of their father during their childhood. We slowly build more of a picture of just how unpleasant this childhood was, and this enables us to understand why the sisters behave as they do in the present day.
I found the story quite compelling and I never at any point wanted to stop reading. However the story is quite unrelenting and there really isn’t any light relief at all. I definitely enjoyed the first half of the book more than the second, as by this point some elements of the story had become quite repetitive. And there is one sub-plot involving Marin’s daughter Gia, that didn’t work for me as the way the characters dealt with the issues was completely unbelievable.
I think ultimately the problem I had with this book was just that it was too long. If it had been about 50 or 75 pages less, the story would have had more impact. But because it was slow and repetitive at times, the story had lost its grip on me by the end. This is a shame as there was a lot to like about this novel, and it deals with horrific issues in an interesting way, but overall the finished product didn’t quite deliver as it perhaps could have for me.