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A Golden Age  By  cover art

A Golden Age

By: Tahmima Anam
Narrated by: Madhur Jaffrey
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Publisher's Summary

As young widow Rehana Haque awakes one March morning, she might be forgiven for feeling happy. Today she will throw a party for her son and daughter. In the garden of the house she has built, her roses are blooming, her children are almost grown, and beyond their doorstep, the city is buzzing with excitement after recent elections. Change is in the air.

But none of the guests at Rehana's party can foresee what will happen in the days and months ahead. For this is 1971 in East Pakistan, a country on the brink of war. And this family's life is about to change forever.

Set against the backdrop of the Bangladesh War of Independence, A Golden Age is a story of passion and revolution, of hope, faith, and unexpected heroism. In the chaos of this era, everyone, from student protesters to the country's leaders, from rickshaw'wallahs to the army's soldiers, must make choices. And as she struggles to keep her family safe, Rehana will be forced to face a heartbreaking dilemma.

©2008 Tahmima Anam (P)2008 HarperCollins Publishers
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Critic Reviews

"An immersive, wrenching narrative." ( Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about A Golden Age

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

sad, poignant, thought-provoking, beautiful

Excellent narration! Difficult situations occur throughout this story, but the descriptions are not overly drawn out or exhausting. Throughout the tale one hears understanding, compassion and faith. This is a compelling peak into the turmoil Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis have endured in recent times. Wonderful character development.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

five star, with reservations

Like "A Thousand Splendid Suns," this is a GOOD novel made more important by the story it tells. From a literary point of view, it's probably a better novel than "Suns", but one point concerns me: I don't think there's a sympathetic portrait of even one minor Pakistani character. In a novel depicting war, no matter how aggressive the opponent nation, I think a detail like that is important to help stop the cycle of dehumanization that allows war.

The novel relates a struggle that was too soon forgotten by the West, even after the flood of publicity that followed George Harrison's "Concert for Bangladesh" (the first big "charity/consciousness raising concert) in the aftermath of the environmental and famine crisis that followed the civil war.

We know that the newly independent Bangladesh had victories in terms of human rights and just government, but also setbacks. It remains a story that we ought to know more about, and the author has provided an excellent starting point in an accessible but absorbing novel that manages to communicate the horrors of war without leaving a listener in psychic numbness. She also hints indirectly in the story at some of the causes of the eventual rise of Islamist fundamentalism among some of the population. Outside of the historical context, the novel paints a picture of how "ordinary" folks can rise to heroic action in crisis.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A Golden Age

I was listening to the BBC Bookclub and Harriet Gilbert was interviewing Tahmina Anam. I enjoyed the show and ordered A Golden Age on Audible. It takes place before and during the War of Independence of East Pakistan, the current day Bangladesh. I loved the character of the mother, wise beyond her years. I found her struggles and how she overcame them, inspiring. I learned a lot about a culture, that I was unfamiliar with. She is an excellent writer and story teller. The book did not disappoint. I would strongly recommend it. At the end, of the book, the publisher, conducted a short interview with the author, which I found fascinating. 👍 RJS

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Biased & distorted history & culture

Being a Bangladeshi, I read the award winning book with a tower high hope & enthusiasm, which ended up being smashed with disheartens.
First of all, which infuriates me, that the Writers write up refuted and suppressed cold blooded the great role of Sector Commander Khalid Mosharraf, who was the all in all of masterminding , uniting , giving training and plotting the entire operations of Dhaka ! She even mentioned martyr Major Khalid Musharraf’s famous quote avoiding mentioning his name any single time !! Instead depicted in a way which lead the reader assumed Major Zia was that one!! How insane! Why so? So To get published during BNP reign ?
No one denies Major Zia’s role as the announcer of Independence in the name of Bongobondhu or his role over war time. But Major Zia had to relation with Dhaka operation, why on earth the boys would be chasing him!

I was bruised to realized how poor knowledge she holds of our culture , values , Family affairs , domestic aids and thought of sex during that time ( Mayas Comment on everybody had premarital sex beside Sharmin!! During early 70”s ! That’s insane!) was nakedly surfaced!

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    5 out of 5 stars

A Beautiful Heart Wrenching Story

A beautiful moving novel by Tahmima Anam. Every mother reading this novel will feel a tug at her heartstrings.

Madhur Jaffery couldn't be more perfect as the narrator. Bravo for taking the time to find someone as elegant and believable as this narrator.

This is a trilogy, which I discovered through the interview at the end of the novel. I look forward to reading about Rehana's father.

I love Pakistan most of all, but it is always important to feel both sides. Especially when it deals with children, family, and the human touch.


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History and family drama

Where does A Golden Age rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It was my first, so I can't compare it to anything else.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Tough choice. Mrs. Chowdhury? She seemed the most colourful.

What about Madhur Jaffrey’s performance did you like?

Terrific narration without exaggeration. She's the reason I signed up for Audible. I really hope she narrates The Good Muslim as well.

Any additional comments?

I was surprised how much I enjoyed the story. I knew very little about the war in Bangladesh before listening to this audiobook.