Review: You Bring the Distant Near – Mitali Perkins

You Bring the Distant Near

Five girls. Three generations. One great American love story. You Bring the Distant Near explores sisterhood, first loves, friendship, and the inheritance of culture–for better or worse. Ranee, worried that her children are losing their Indian culture; Sonia, wrapped up in a forbidden biracial love affair; Tara, seeking the limelight to hide her true self; Shanti, desperately trying to make peace in the family; Anna, fighting to preserve her Bengali identity–award-winning author Mitali Perkins weaves together a sweeping story of five women at once intimately relatable and yet entirely new.

I read You Bring the Distant Near as it was a Lit CelebrAsian book club pick. As most of you will know, I absolutely adore intergenerational stories, especially when they are set in South Asia and South-East Asia because I can relate to them a lot.

This book is #ownvoices for Indian representation.

I really don’t know how I can put to words how this book made me feel. I almost cried while reading it; I was feeling a type of longing. A longing for a part of the world that is part of me, but yet, due to being diaspora, I feel disconnected from.

I loved that we got to see the perspective of five different women of the diaspora. Every one had a different experience, which shows that not everyone in the diaspora is the same.

This book discussed a lot of important themes: colourism, anti-blackness, being multiracial, immigration, living in the diaspora, and Islamantagonism come to mind.

Ranee brings up an interesting point during one of the argument with Sonia. Namely, that feminism can also learn a lot from India. I feel that white feminism is often focussed on the ideas and developments of the West, and sees other countries as lesser.

You Bring the Distant Near is a beautiful, beautiful story. It was such an emotional read and it gave me this sense of belonging. I could see parts of myself in some of the characters.

Trigger warnings: N-word is used and called out, colourism.

5 stars

Are you planning to read You Bring the Distant Near?


10 thoughts on “Review: You Bring the Distant Near – Mitali Perkins

  1. My heart skipped beats when I saw this review pop up on my feed! I really do believe this book is devastatingly underhyped smh. I loved seeing & reading from all 5 generations of women 💜 this was easily a 5 star read and I’m so glad to have come across your review 💜


  2. I cannot wait to read You Bring the Distant Near! Actually thought I preordered it, so I’m going to check on that. Have you read any of her other novels? We’ve read 3 now (two as read-alouds) and loved them all. So glad you recommend this one too.


      1. We’ve read her MG books (Tiger Boy and Rickshaw Girl) and I’ve read Secret Keeper, which was amazing historical fiction but does deal with depression and is very emotional. I’d recommend any of the three we’ve read so far!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I am so, SO happy you read this! I also teared up at times reading this book because I felt a deep connection to the it. The characters being Bengali made it extra special for me, I have never had that representation until this book. I loved the character growth, especially Ranee who probably changed the most out of the five of them. I need more people to read this book.


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