Summary: Priyanka Das has so many unanswered questions: Why did her mother abandon her home in India years ago? What was it like there? And most importantly, who is her father, and why did her mom leave him behind? But Pri’s mom avoids these questions–the topic of India is permanently closed.
For Pri, her mother’s homeland can only exist in her imagination. That is, until she find a mysterious pashmina tucked away in a forgotten suitcase. When she wraps herself in it, she is transported to a place more vivid and colorful than any guidebook or Bollywood film. But is this the real India? And what is that shadow lurking in the background? To learn the truth, Pri must travel farther than she’s ever dared and find the family she never knew. [Image and summary via Goodreads]
Review: Completely by accident, I seem to be on some kind of roll reading stories that feature fraught mother-daughter relationships front-and-center. First there was Shadow Girl by Liana Liu (which I super recommend), then there was another book that I don’t really recommend, and then there was this — Pashmina. I’ve been meaning to read it for the last few months, and I’m glad I picked it up.
Pashmina centers on one Priyanka, who struggles with fitting in at school and with the changes coming to her extended family. In her search for answers about her mother’s homeland and her absent father, she discovers a magical pashmina that transports her to India — or a version of it, at least.
Young as she is, it takes a whole journey before Priyanka learns why her mother won’t talk about her father. As expected, the reason is heartbreaking, and helps Priyanka grow to understand her mother better. The whole story is told through varying palettes — some monochrome, others bright and colorful. The color and artistic choices are fascinating, and reading through Pashmina was a delight.
My only wish is that Pashmina were longer — there is so much there already, and I would have loved to live in Priyanka’s head a little longer. I can’t wait to read whatever Nidhi Chanani has brewing next.
Pashmina is a short and sweet read. Be ready for a little bit of heartbreak and quite a bit of wonder at the brilliant colors and storytelling. If you haven’t picked it up, definitely go check it out when you get the chance.
Recommendation: Get it soon!