Born in India to a Hindu mother and a Christian father, Tara and Sonia have also lived in Ghana and London, England, while their father’s job took him to many other countries. Uprooted once more in the early 70s, the girls and their parents arrive in New York. They soon realize that their cultural habits make them stand out in the predominantly African-American neighborhood in which they now live.
When tragedy strikes the family, Sonia experiences a crisis of faith, questioning how a loving God can allow suffering. Soon after, when she falls in love with an African-American man who her mother doesn’t approve of, Sonia makes a difficult choice leading to repercussions that last decades.
Meanwhile, Tara struggles to come to grips with a relationship that seems too culturally restrictive and yet might have the possibility of a future.
You Bring the Distant Near spans the lives of Sonia and Tara—their marriages, careers, their children, and their mother. The story reflects the author’s own experience: she too was born in India, grew up in the Hindu religion, converted later to Christianity, and has lived in numerous countries.
This sensitive and thought-provoking young adult novel explores themes of race, discrimination, gender inequality, religion, and national pride and identity. (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)