Arif Anwar

Author of
  • The Storm
    Atria/S&S, fall 2018

Arif Anwar was born in Chittagong, Bangladesh, just miles from the Bay of Bengal. He has previously worked for BRAC, one of the world’s largest Non-Governmental Organizations, on issues of poverty alleviation, and for UNICEF Myanmar for public health issues. Arif has a PhD in Education from the University of Toronto. He currently lives in Toronto Canada, with his wife Si (Sandra) Lian. THE STORM is his first novel.

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Books by Arif

The Storm

Inspired by the 1970 Bhola Cyclone, which killed a half-million people overnight, THE STORM seamlessly interweaves five love stories that come together to form a chronicle of fifty years of Bangladeshi history and are a testament to the bonds of family and the power of love.

Shahryar, a recent Ph.D. graduate and father of nine-year-old Anna, must leave the US when his visa expires. As they spend their last remaining weeks together, Shahryar tells Anna the history of his family, beginning in a fishing village on the Bay of Bengal, where a poor fisherman and his Hindu wife, who converted to Islam out of love for him, are preparing to face a storm of historic proportions. Their story is impacted by others, including a Japanese fighter pilot, a British female doctor stationed in Burma during WW II, a Buddhist monk originally from Austria, and a privileged couple in Calcutta who leave it all behind to move to East Pakistan following the Partition of India. The structure of the novel mimics the storm, which anchors the book–and, like a storm, it builds to a series of revelatory and moving climaxes as it explores the many ways in which families love, betray, honor, and sacrifice for one another.

A stunning accomplishment, at once grounded in history and a fantastic feat of imagination, THE STORM is a sweeping epic in the tradition of The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini and Rohinton Mistry’s A Fine Balance. It is the suspenseful, heartbreaking story of a Bangladeshi family stretching across decades and continents by an immensely talented new voice in international fiction.

Praise for The Storm

Arif Anwar's masterful storytelling crosses continents and generations, illuminating how personal choices can have sweeping repercussions. The Storm is an elegant, stunning novel, which captured my imagination and my heart until the end.

Shilpi Somaya Gowda, bestselling author of Secret Daughter and The Golden Son

This book is a marvel, combining the sweep of a saga with the precision of a page-turner. Arif Anwar moves us deftly through time and across borders, beautifully illustrating the strange intersections we call fate, and reminding us how the past shapes the present.

Rumaan Alam, author of Rich and Pretty

He has entered a new world in old skin. Lovers whisper, immigration papers rustle, gunfire explodes as this novel sweeps backwards and forwards across continents and decades, the still point in the 1970 Bhola cyclone when a half million people perished in a night. The interconnected stories come alive with sensual detail--the call of a Hindu conch is woven into the echoes of the muezzin while an injured pilot recites the names of the twelve apostles. This is Bangladesh history—all our history—as we enter a new world—our world-- through the absorbing stories of The Storm.

Kim Echlin, author of Under the Visible Life

Using the ugliest threads of history -- natural disaster, colonialism, poverty, war, political intrigue, and greed -- Arif Anwar weaves a tapestry of love, honor, and redemption that displays humanity at our beautiful best.

Matthew Gallaway, author of #gods and The Metropolis Case

This riveting novel weaves the interlocking tales of compelling characters finding their way through turbulent times, crisscrossing nations and continents, finding redemption in the gift of love and the magical power of words. The Storm is lyrical, lovely and captivating.

Mary Janigan, author of Let the Eastern Bastards Freeze in the Dark

Complex, elegantly-composed, and page-turning at once, The Storm is a novel both grand and intimate in its scope. Arif Anwar’s ability to inhabit a variety of characters across countries and time is nothing short of astounding. I adored this book.

Armando Lucas Correa, author of The German Girl
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