Book Review: The Association of Small Bombs

Mahajan, Karan
3 stars = Pretty Good

First, there was an explosion—a small bomb in a Delhi marketplace place. The Kurana boys were killed, and their friend Mansoor survives. This small bomb had devastating results on two families, and The Association of Small Bombs by Karan Mahajan reveals the interconnectedness of grief and disaster as it follows the lives of the families and the terrorists after the explosion. Mahajan confronts tough topics and raises questions about terrorism and war. It is an uncomfortable read, definitely not a book for pure pleasure. Frankly, The Association of Small Bombs is not my favorite book, nor do I believe it is meant to be. While it certainly covers hard and uncomfortable topics, it could have been written in a less dry manner. The characters also seemed to always fall on some extreme, and I feel some less extreme characters would have enhanced the novel. At least for the first chunk of the novel, the characters' names are challenging, and sometimes essential plot points are overshadowed as I attempt to remember who some characters are. That being said, it definitely prompted me to think about grief differently and about all the interconnected pieces of a single action.

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