The Sound of Language: A Novel by Amulya Malladi [in Bloomsbury Review]
Indian-born, U.S.-, UK-, and now Denmark-domiciled Malladi is a literary chameleon, thanks in part to her changing addresses. Language, which features a young Afghan refugee woman escaping unnamable horrors under the Taliban, is almost like reading a sister text of Khaled Hosseini’s unforgettable A Thousand Splendid Suns, as if Raihana could have been a relative or friend of Hosseini’s Laila (there’s even a Layla in Language) – one who managed to get out.
In Language, Raihana adapts quickly to her new Danish life, living with a distant cousin and his family. As she learns the new language that sounds like the “buzzing of a thousand bees,” she ironically finds work with a widowed Danish beekeeper still mourning the recent death of his beloved wife. A tentative friendship develops between the two lost souls, causing friction between the very different communities to which each belongs.