Rating – 3.5/5
The Arab Spring, that was supposed to usher in democracy in the Middle East, instead brought civil wars and barbarism in these lands killing millions and displacing many more. Overnight, people became paupers, lost their homes and identities, and were scattered all over the globe in search of asylum.
When the Winds Blow West by Alexander Tatievsky is the story of one such family in search of a home in Turkey after they are forced to flee their homeland, Syria.
Tatievsky renders a heart-wrenching portrayal of what it means to be a refugee. You simply belong nowhere. No matter how hard one tries, a refugee is reduced to a non-being in a new country.
Tatievsky is a gifted storyteller. The account of the daily lives of the family, the unforeseen twists that further complicate their lives and the description of how the family deals with their adversities make for fine reading. The third-person narrative works in favor of Tatievsky’s writing style and results in a smoothly flowing story. Further, his vivid sketch of the diverse characters in the book made it easy for me to visualize them in my mind.
Tatievsky sheds light on human nature in this novel. Good and evil exist everywhere; they can not be labeled with caste, creed, or nationality. While there are people consumed with greed and lust who will destroy you, there are also kind-hearted people who go beyond the call of duty to help you. Tatievsky establishes these characters in a non-judgemental manner letting the readers conclude themselves.
Moreover, Tatievsky succeeds in making you think about the tragedies experienced by the refugees. They no longer appear to be a distant problem. He puts a face to them and makes their suffering seem real.
However, the language could have been far more mellifluous befitting the topic of the book. The novel does hit the nail on the head, but I am not going to remember it after a month.
When the Winds Blow West is a gritty, no-holds-barred portrayal of the lives of refugees that is relevant to the current times resulting in a commendable debut.
I received an e-ARC from Reedsy Discovery. I opted to provide an honest review on my blog.