On the Gathering Storm is an interesting story of a young woman and her struggles to overcome adversity. Hannah Garrity began her struggles early when as a youngster, she fell into a well and for 18 hours was the media's darling. She grew up with what seemed to me a sense of impending doom always lingering behind her. I won't add any spoilers to this review, but Hannah goes through something horrific, which brings her nearly to the end of her endurance. We get a glimpse into the mind of someone struggling to maintain sanity in a mania-inducing situation.
It was hard to stomach some of the horror Hannah experiences but the only time I lost touch with the story was when she was in her brother's apartment. At that point I couldn't suspend my disbelief. It was too unreal and almost convenient. Otherwise, I was with it the whole way.
A good debut novel from an interesting new writer.
(spoiler alert) The title of The Memory of a Face is perfect. The story is about love. Love in all its myriad forms. In the story, a young man named Andy loses his memory after an accident (it's not cliché, Das pulls it off well), but he never forgets the face of his lover. It's beautiful and demonstrates the power of love. You can lose your memory, but still hang on to the feelings that person stirs in you.
I enjoyed this book so much more than I expected to. It's very different from my normal reading material, but I'm glad I didn't miss out on it. The characters are well drawn out. Das has told the story in a way that is unique, especially with the Hong Kong culture and language, and draws his characters with a fine hand. They become real very quickly and I found myself rooting for them from the beginning.
It was a very enjoyable read and I am looking forward to more books from Ansh Das.