The Road Taken

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

In the future, power shifts and revolutionary thinking and actions are prevalent across the globe. Two women’s stories in India and Africa depict journeys sparked by a traumatic experience. Monica Byrne’s The Girl in the Road alternates between Meena and Mariama’s perspectives of their ventures across the Indian and African countries. Meena leaves India to cross an energy-harvesting bridge (a.k.a the Trail) toward Africa to escape an attack she suffered at home and a desire to avenge her parents’ murder. Mariama travels east across Africa with practical strangers after her mother told her to run from her enslaved life. Meena and Mariama are both entranced by another woman during their lives and both have a lengthy conversation with those women in their heads. With a couple decades separating Meena and Mariama’s lives, their stories eventually converge in a revealing manner.

The way that Meena and Mariama’s stories are woven together and culminate in their convergence is achieved rather well through the subtle sprinkling of clues throughout the chapters. An example of which is how particular events, situations, and words are mirrored from one woman’s story to the other in subsequent chapters. One thing that I quite liked about this book is the world presented being one that is rarely presented: a futuristic envisioning of India and Africa. This setting allows for a representation of characters who are not overly commonly seen in literature and, thus, we have some DIVERSITY. Something that I repeatedly got hung up on was my confusion over which woman’s narrative I was reading since there were time jumps and a lack of direct dialogue with quotation marks to help orient me. It was easy to conflate the two women due to various time jumps within a chapter of the narrative and the multitude of names that each character responds to.

Overall, I’d give it a 4 out of 5 stars.


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