A story of identity, connection, and forgiveness, A Convergence of Solitudes presents the lives of two families across the Partition of India, Vietnam’s Operation Babylift, and two Quebec referendums.
Teenage lovers Sunil and Hima defy taboos to come together as India divides in two. They traverse the world to Montreal and raise a family, but Sunil shows symptoms of schizophrenia, shattering their new-found peace. As a teenager, their daughter Rani becomes obsessed with Québécois supergroup Sensibilité —and the band’s charismatic, nationalistic frontman, Serge—connecting her to the province’s struggle for cultural freedom. When a chance encounter leads Rani to babysit Mélanie, Serge’s adopted daughter from Vietnam, she fleetingly enters his inner circle.
Years later, Rani, now a college guidance counsellor, discovers that Mélanie has booked an appointment to discuss her future at the school. Unmoved by her father’s staunch patriotism and her British mother’s bourgeois ways, Mélanie struggles with uncertainty about her identity. As the two women’s lives intersect, Rani’s fascination with Serge’s music becomes a strange shadow amidst their friendship.
Praise for A Convergence of Solitudes:
“A Convergence of Solitudes is an ambitious novel structured as a double album and focusing on two different families. Over the decades that their stories unfold, members of both clans grapple with solitude in its myriad forms. The novel paints a multicultural portrait of Montreal as characters converge on the city from around the world: India, Vietnam, England, Ireland. Fans of seventies prog rock will catch the sly references to Quebec superstars Harmonium. Anita Anand has created an impressive opus.” — Neil Smith, author of Jones
“Refracted through the lens of Quebec’s years of turbulence and hope, A Convergence of Solitudes tells the truth about the world: there were never only two solitudes, but many. By gathering us all, atoms of light, Anita Anand has focused the blazing beauty of our richness and possibility, transmuting us in our yearning and our pain into shining creatures of love. This may be the essential story of our place and our time: the world, once and always.”—Elise Moser, author of Lily and Taylor
66 works of Canadian fiction to watch for in spring 2022 —CBC Books
Most Anticipated: Our Spring 2022 Fiction Preview —49th Shelf
What We’re Reading: Editors’ Picks, Spring 2022 —Hamilton Review of Books
40 Canadian books coming out in May we can’t wait to read —CBC Books
“No Novel is Perfect” Anita Anand on Learning & Loving the Novel Form —Open Book
16 Novels to Pack in Your Bag —Kerry Clare, 49th Shelf
“From the seed of a love-match marriage in Partition-era India, people from multiple cultures collide and converge amid the ferment of their new home’s late-20th century nationalist movement. It’s an ambitious act of narrative plate-spinning that Anand pulls off with aplomb. As the title’s echo of Hugh MacLennan hints, A Convergence of Solitudes presents a new way of looking at Quebec.” —Ian McGillis, Montreal Gazette
“A polyphonic novel that flits in and out of the consciousnesses of a central cast of characters, all of whom are united in a common search for belonging and meaning.” —Steven Beattie, That Shakespearean Rag
“A serious and ambitious book that manages to weave together complicated strands of personal and cultural history, a Convergence of Solitudes is both a beautiful and compelling contemporary Canadian novel.” —
“The book becomes a sort of novel in pieces, but the pieces are drawn together compellingly and satisfyingly, moving between decades and characters and continents to culminate in what feels like an epic.” —Kerry Clare, Pickle Me This
Our Amazing 2022 Summer Reading List —49th Shelf
“I truly enjoyed reading A Convergence of Solitudes. It forces the reader to look at each character’s perspective and understand exactly where they are coming from. You must first understand their struggles and frustrations so that you may understand their actions. And we see through their triumphs and small moments of happiness that these are enough for a good life.” —Melissa Khan, Cloud Lake Literary
Craving CanLit 2022 —Scotiabank Giller Prize
“A Convergence of Solitudes is ambitious in scope, merging the personal with the cultural and the political.” —Claudette Bouman, The Puritan