As I was reading KArine Tuil's bestseller, The Age of Reinvention, it did strike me as odd that we are all signing up for programmes that guarantee to reinvent us - in the process losing our identity voluntarily. And yet, there is some merit in discovering a better side to oneself. Here is what the Guardian has to say about a book that I am finding so hard to put down.
"An international bestseller, shortlisted for the Prix Goncourt, on paper The Age of Reinvention has a lot going for it. It is a high-concept drama that shuttles between Paris, New York and Afghanistan, playing with notions of religion, terrorism and identity – Arab and Jewish – sex and literature. The story revolves around three characters who met at law school in the 80s: Samir, the son of Tunisian immigrants who has remade himself as a hotshot lawyer in the US, shortening his name to Sam and passing himself off as Jewish; Samuel, whose backstory Samir stole; and Nina, the woman who came between them, blackmailed by Samuel into staying with him instead of being with Samir. Things kick into play when Samuel and Nina see Samir feted on CNN, and decide he owes them. The switches and reversals that follow – terror arrests, adultery, literary success – should be worthy of that great manipulator of fates, Tom Wolfe, but something comes between the reader and the pleasure they are owed. Partly it is the plotting, which offers less a rollercoaster ride than one of those swinging ships, flinging the characters from one extreme to the other.
As I turn the pages, I am impressed with the way she manages to get into the head of her characters yet keeping the relatability very much alive.
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