A story of identity, connection and forgiveness, A Convergence of Solitudes shares the lives of two families across Partition of India, Operation Babylift in Vietnam, and two referendums in Quebec.
Sunil and Hima, teenage lovers, bravely defy taboos in pre-Partition India to come together as their country divides in two. They move across the world to Montreal and raise a family, but Sunil shows symptoms of schizophrenia, shattering their newfound peace. As a teenager, their daughter Rani becomes obsessed with Quebecois supergroup Sensibilité—and, in particular, the band's charismatic, nationalistic frontman, Serge Giglio—whose music connects Rani to the province's struggle for cultural freedom. A chance encounter leads Rani to babysit Mélanie, Serge's adopted daughter from Vietnam, bringing her fleetingly within his inner circle.
Years later, Rani, now a college guidance counselor, 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 is struggling with deep uncertainty about her identity and belonging. As the two women's lives become more and more intertwined, Rani's fascination with Mélanie's father's music becomes a strange shadow amidst their friendship.
About the author
Anita Anand is an author, translator and language teacher from Montreal. She is the winner of the 2015 QWF Concordia University First Book Prize for Swing in the House and Other Stories, which was also shortlisted for the 2016 Relit Award for Fiction and the Montreal Literary Diversity Prize. Her translation of Nirliit, by Juliana Léveillé-Trudel was nominated for the 2018 John Glassco Prize. She has also translated Fanie Demeule's novel Déterrer les os, known in English as Lightness.
- Nominated, Forest of Reading Evergreen Award
- Short-listed, Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction
“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 Miramichi Reader
"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
"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." —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." —That Shakespearean Rag