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"Wondrously and elegantly written in language that astonishes and moves the reader...This is an important book: an emotional and intellectual tour de force." —Jane Urquhart An experimental memoir about Partition, immigration, and generational storytelling, This Red Line Goes Straight to Your Heart weaves together the poetry of memory with the science of embodied trauma, us "Wondrously and elegantly written in language that astonishes and moves the reader...This is an important book: an emotional and intellectual tour de force." —Jane Urquhart An experimental memoir about Partition, immigration, and generational storytelling, This Red Line Goes Straight to Your Heart weaves together the poetry of memory with the science of embodied trauma, using the imagined voices of the past and the vital authority of the present. We begin with a man off balance: one in one thousand, the only child in town whose polio leads to partial paralysis. We meet his future wife, chanting Hai Rams for Gandhiji and choosing education over marriage. On one side of the line that divides this book, we follow them as their homeland splits in two and they are drawn together, moving to Canada and raising their children in mining towns and in crowded city apartments. And when we turn the book over, we find the daughter's tale—we see how the rupture of Partition, the asymmetry of a father's leg, the virus of a mother's rage, makes its way to the next generation. Told through the lenses of biology, physics, history and poetry, this is a memoir that defies form and convention to immerse the reader in the feeling of what remains when we've heard as much of the truth as our families will allow, and we're left to search for ourselves among the pieces they've carried with them.


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"Wondrously and elegantly written in language that astonishes and moves the reader...This is an important book: an emotional and intellectual tour de force." —Jane Urquhart An experimental memoir about Partition, immigration, and generational storytelling, This Red Line Goes Straight to Your Heart weaves together the poetry of memory with the science of embodied trauma, us "Wondrously and elegantly written in language that astonishes and moves the reader...This is an important book: an emotional and intellectual tour de force." —Jane Urquhart An experimental memoir about Partition, immigration, and generational storytelling, This Red Line Goes Straight to Your Heart weaves together the poetry of memory with the science of embodied trauma, using the imagined voices of the past and the vital authority of the present. We begin with a man off balance: one in one thousand, the only child in town whose polio leads to partial paralysis. We meet his future wife, chanting Hai Rams for Gandhiji and choosing education over marriage. On one side of the line that divides this book, we follow them as their homeland splits in two and they are drawn together, moving to Canada and raising their children in mining towns and in crowded city apartments. And when we turn the book over, we find the daughter's tale—we see how the rupture of Partition, the asymmetry of a father's leg, the virus of a mother's rage, makes its way to the next generation. Told through the lenses of biology, physics, history and poetry, this is a memoir that defies form and convention to immerse the reader in the feeling of what remains when we've heard as much of the truth as our families will allow, and we're left to search for ourselves among the pieces they've carried with them.

30 review for This Red Line Goes Straight to Your Heart: A Memoir in Halves

  1. 5 out of 5

    Maxine

    This Red Line Goes Straight to Your Heart: A Memoir in Halves by Madhur Anand is a beautifully written memoir mixing a family's history with art and science and producing a fascinating and highly readable memoir. It is marked by partitions in country between India and Pakistan, in family between husband and wife, between wife and husband's family, and between parents born in the Punjab and their daughter born in Canada, in memory, religion, and in art and science when love and grief intersect an This Red Line Goes Straight to Your Heart: A Memoir in Halves by Madhur Anand is a beautifully written memoir mixing a family's history with art and science and producing a fascinating and highly readable memoir. It is marked by partitions in country between India and Pakistan, in family between husband and wife, between wife and husband's family, and between parents born in the Punjab and their daughter born in Canada, in memory, religion, and in art and science when love and grief intersect and collide. It is a complex story about a family that I found easy to care for and to sympathize with. My only quibble was the ending that seemed abrupt but perhaps that was because I was not ready to say goodbye. I don't read a lot of memoirs but this is one I know I will add to my very short list of books that I will read many many times. Thanks to Netgalley and Penguin Random House Canada for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review

  2. 4 out of 5

    Bookworm Adventure Girl

    This memoir by Madhur Anand is written differently than any other memoir I've read. I like that it is described as being a memoir in halves as the story is told alternating between a man and a woman. This Red Line Goes Straight to Your Heart begins in Delhi, India. The Partition of India in 1947 has separated India into two separate states, India and Pakistan. Many families were displaced refugees. We first meet a man telling of his childhood. A life made more difficult because of polio which lef This memoir by Madhur Anand is written differently than any other memoir I've read. I like that it is described as being a memoir in halves as the story is told alternating between a man and a woman. This Red Line Goes Straight to Your Heart begins in Delhi, India. The Partition of India in 1947 has separated India into two separate states, India and Pakistan. Many families were displaced refugees. We first meet a man telling of his childhood. A life made more difficult because of polio which left him with a limp and made him the target of ridicule and teasing even by his own family. Despite that he is very intelligent especially in math and science. He eventually gets a visa to move to Canada, but he must marry first. We meet a young woman interested in science who is choosing education and work over marriage until she actually does get married which will mean changinher life forever. As this man and his wife, Nirmal are united in Canada in the late 1960's, over a year after their wedding, we journey with them as they adjust to a new life, - the culture, food, jobs and weather. Not to mention a new marriage with someone who is virtually a stranger and a growing family. This memoir touched upon a lot of themes. It is about family, marriage, loss, grief, loneliness, mental illness, racism, immigration and overcoming obstacles. There were some beautiful prose in the writing; some phrases were poetic. Throughout the story, scientific or mathematical explanations were made which I found distracting. There were gaps in the story, which might be because there are gaps in the knowledge of family history, but there is definitely room to explore more here. Since it was told by two different points of view, there were times something would be mentioned by one person then never be referred to or brought up again. Some of it seemed significant and it felt like there were some loose ends. I enjoyed learning of the traditions of India and comparing that to Canada. There were some interesting parallels drawn between the partition in India and the partition that exists in Canada between white and indigenous peoples. As some of the book takes place near Thunder Bay there was some less well known Canadian history touched upon I thought noteworthy which is the prisoner of war internment camps near Marathon, ON that existed in the 1940's. As a Canadian, I don't think too many people know that part of our history. There is a lot to take away from this memoir and if Madhur Anand writes anymore non-fiction or fiction, I would check it out. Bookworm Rating: 🐛🐛🐛🌱 Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Random House Canada for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review

  3. 4 out of 5

    Brenda

    I really liked this memoir. I had to work to understand some of it, which I value in a book. There were quite a few science and psychology references I looked up as I read it. I feel I learned some interesting concepts. And so I am glad I read this book. The Red Line can refer to the boundary between Pakistan and India at Partition. But more as well. It is very beautifully written, and I was sorry when it ended. The author is a scientist as well a poet.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Edward

    This Red Line Goes Straight to Your Heart sparkles and surprises throughout, a wonderful amalgam of thought and emotion, of family, story, science and the poetry of language.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sarah (more.books.than.days)

    Madhur Anand begins her memoir with two covers. This moment of discovery, this is a story split in halves; the first tantalizing taste of what is to come. It feels as if she places your hands on a thread and beckons you to follow where it leads. You find yourself peering into a story from one angle, and then another, questioning the assymetry... What is truth and what is telling? All while wondering at the beauty, sorrow and scope revealed, but also at that which so obviously remains hidden. Par Madhur Anand begins her memoir with two covers. This moment of discovery, this is a story split in halves; the first tantalizing taste of what is to come. It feels as if she places your hands on a thread and beckons you to follow where it leads. You find yourself peering into a story from one angle, and then another, questioning the assymetry... What is truth and what is telling? All while wondering at the beauty, sorrow and scope revealed, but also at that which so obviously remains hidden. Part memoir, part personal exploration, it is a work of melding and experimenting to create something far beyond simply a piece of non-fiction.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Enid Wray

    An interesting story presented in a unique fashion… I liked the physical structure of the book, and the creative presentation. Being a fan of Rohinton Mistry, Anita Rau Badami, Arundhati Roy - and oh so many others - I thoroughly enjoyed reading, and learning more, about India at the time of partition. I also appreciated the interesting parallels drawn to the Canadian situation and circumstance - re our treatment of both indigenous people and more recent immigrants. Additionally, the way in which An interesting story presented in a unique fashion… I liked the physical structure of the book, and the creative presentation. Being a fan of Rohinton Mistry, Anita Rau Badami, Arundhati Roy - and oh so many others - I thoroughly enjoyed reading, and learning more, about India at the time of partition. I also appreciated the interesting parallels drawn to the Canadian situation and circumstance - re our treatment of both indigenous people and more recent immigrants. Additionally, the way in which science - physics in particular - is interwoven into the narrative as both story unto itself and by way of explanation of events was also interesting. Notwithstanding all of the above, I found myself slogging to read this. The writing was flat, emotionless, and I found it virtually impossible to distinguish between the various voices. I also found the narrative to be very disjointed, leaving my feeling that much was left unaddressed and unexplained. I was left feeling only partially sated.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Young

    I found this book such an interesting book to read and I always felt I was in the presence of a truly original writer and thinker. My only problem for me dealt with the science. I did not understand and I was always afraid that I was missing something in the story that was illustrated by the experimentS or the formulas and that therefore I was missing something in the story of the daughter. I know that rereading would not help me understand because 16 years of education didn’t help me. As a resu I found this book such an interesting book to read and I always felt I was in the presence of a truly original writer and thinker. My only problem for me dealt with the science. I did not understand and I was always afraid that I was missing something in the story that was illustrated by the experimentS or the formulas and that therefore I was missing something in the story of the daughter. I know that rereading would not help me understand because 16 years of education didn’t help me. As a result I often felt there was something disjointed in the memories and reflections. But I always felt the fault was in me and not the author. I did enjoy the parents story immensely. But on the whole, as I said, I knew I was in the presence of a great writer and mind.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ralph Martin

    I finished reading “This Red Line ..” this week. I appreciate how you shared scientific, esoteric, artistic, emotional and personal insights all while being a wry observer reporting to me as a reader. I’m guessing it might have been tempting to indulge in more emotionally dramatic writing when being triggered by family stories. I felt respected as a reader and was left to my own reactions and reflections that often linked to events in my life. This is a well written book. Thank-you for your rese I finished reading “This Red Line ..” this week. I appreciate how you shared scientific, esoteric, artistic, emotional and personal insights all while being a wry observer reporting to me as a reader. I’m guessing it might have been tempting to indulge in more emotionally dramatic writing when being triggered by family stories. I felt respected as a reader and was left to my own reactions and reflections that often linked to events in my life. This is a well written book. Thank-you for your research and thoughtfulness, written to enrich other lives too. Sincerely, Ralph Martin

  9. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    I felt very excited about the stories in this book - partition/immigration and also by the interesting structure to the book and the use of theortical physics to put some other structure around the story - however by the final 3rd of the book it started to feel a bit gimiky and I was wanting a bit more depth to the story. Also the second half of the memoir feels more disjointed and I found it difficult to stay connected to the story - perhaps it would have been better as a collection of poems th I felt very excited about the stories in this book - partition/immigration and also by the interesting structure to the book and the use of theortical physics to put some other structure around the story - however by the final 3rd of the book it started to feel a bit gimiky and I was wanting a bit more depth to the story. Also the second half of the memoir feels more disjointed and I found it difficult to stay connected to the story - perhaps it would have been better as a collection of poems than a novel.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Christy MacCallum

    Linking pieces of stories together with scattered patterns - asymmetry, domestic abuse, physics, plants, water, eating disorders - to create a partially formed picture of generational lives intersecting. It’s left me in a mild existential crisis wondering if who are isn’t just the sum of the results of those who came before us? And if understanding those people can help us understand who we are and what we are doing here?

  11. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    2.5 Stars - I really enjoyed the first half of this story, where the author's parents were the main focus, but once I flipped to the other part of the book I lost interest. I feel like maybe I didn't quite grasp the full impact of the book having no previous knowledge or understanding of the partition of India and Pakistan. Also all of the parts in the book that would talk about physics and math would completely lose me. 2.5 Stars - I really enjoyed the first half of this story, where the author's parents were the main focus, but once I flipped to the other part of the book I lost interest. I feel like maybe I didn't quite grasp the full impact of the book having no previous knowledge or understanding of the partition of India and Pakistan. Also all of the parts in the book that would talk about physics and math would completely lose me.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Danielle Violet

    Was experiencing a month long good book drought until I opened these pages. The voice is so humble and unassuming with its fragility lying just underneath a layer of inquisition. I love the way it’s written, each event and thought is presented in a straightforward fashion but with exactly the right amount of detail to stir the imagination of the reader.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Polly Krize

    I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Basically a memoir of a Canadian/Indian's family on partition and how it affected their lives. I found the writing disjointed and sometimes ungrammatical. Not a book I would purchase. Only my opinion. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Basically a memoir of a Canadian/Indian's family on partition and how it affected their lives. I found the writing disjointed and sometimes ungrammatical. Not a book I would purchase. Only my opinion.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Betty

    A poetic memoir from the perspective of a first generation and second generation Canadian Indian family. A feminist perspective on family, changing values, patriarchy, culture, racism, and sexism. Madhur Anand's writing is intelligent, raw, beautiful and and poetic. A poetic memoir from the perspective of a first generation and second generation Canadian Indian family. A feminist perspective on family, changing values, patriarchy, culture, racism, and sexism. Madhur Anand's writing is intelligent, raw, beautiful and and poetic.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Bury

    A touching account that delves into the lives of a family struck by Partition, told through the lens of science and poetry. Packed full of intriguing analogies between fundamental science and the events that unfold. A very unique and thought-provoking read.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jan

    Clever and compelling. Well done.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Mary Curran

    Excellent book told from three perspectives about adapting to life n Canada after immigrating from India/Pakistan in the late sixties. Read as an abs duo book.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Banuta

    Challenging, beautiful, eloquent, the kind of memoir that fascinates because it interweaves, it drops threads, the author speaks from the heart where that red line goes.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Melina Bondy

  20. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kite

  23. 5 out of 5

    Orvis

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jackie Smith

  25. 4 out of 5

    Malini

  26. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ric Jordan

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lana

  29. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne Carson

  30. 4 out of 5

    Susan Daftary

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