This is a review for The Girl in the Road by Monica Byrne.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ 3 stars, I liked it.
The Girl in the Road is an intricately woven story. It bounces back and forth between two seemingly separate narratives. Meena is a twenty something woman in India who was orphaned at birth and is struggling to find her identity. Mariama is a ten year old girl who is fleeing from her home across Africa. Both of them have the same goal in mind: Ethiopia.
This book is quite different than my usual reading material. I struggled with many aspects of it. Meena is a very sexual being and the book describes many of her encounters. Mariama is a small naive little girl running from a danger she doesn't understand. Both of them are fleeing their pasts and searching for a better future. Each of them is plagued by visions of a girl in the road and they struggle to understand the meaning.
The story is set in two different time periods, both in the future. India and Ethiopia are the main backdrops and the futuristic setting adds a difficult layer to understanding the cultures. Many struggles and wars mentioned in this book are fictional but little context was given for them, the context is not strictly necessary but would perhaps help clarify some things.
All of this adds up to a book that takes you on a surreal journey across a landscape that is vaguely familiar but is somehow alien as well. Monica Byrne wrote a wonderful piece for her debut novel. This book is a very twisting 'road' and the final piece of the puzzle doesn't fall into place until the last page. The author does not shy away from the unpleasant aspects of life and this book faces those things we all would rather ignore head on.
More information about this book can be found here on the publisher's website. Author information is available here. I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.