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Mother Ocean Father Nation

Review

Mother Ocean Father Nation

How much is the state of one’s homeland ingrained in the ever-growing connection we have with the rest of the world? Can you really take the girl out of (insert place here), but you can’t take the place out of the girl? For millions of people each year, military coups and political chaos can change the environment they love into a place they should well forget. MOTHER OCEAN FATHER NATION takes a look at the fallout of a small unnamed island in the South Pacific that sustains an aggressive political makeover.

"MOTHER OCEAN FATHER NATION is not a diatribe but rather a beautiful testament to the ways in which the human spirit can overcome racism, homophobia, fascism, oppression and the generalized hate that prevents true progress."

Our guides on this trip are siblings: Bhumi, the perfect daughter, and Jaipal, her turbulent brother who sees no hope in the future of their country after the storm. The native islanders rise up against the Indian population who were brought to the island by colonizers who needed farm help and then were abandoned when the political tsunami occurred. This new generation of those immigrants have had greater success than the native population, considered a lower caste and still living in generational oppression. The coup opens up a portal of aggression and dissension from the angry generations of the natives, leaving a younger generation --- that of the siblings --- to face the music for the work of their elders.

Bhumi has an unfortunate run-in with the new military personnel when she stays out too late with a well-connected friend. She ends up in California and must settle into the chaos of American life amidst the turmoil her family experiences in the last throes of a dying nation. Jaipal, meanwhile, takes up the mantle of his father, a worn-out depressive who no longer believes in his nation’s ability to support him or his family. The Indian families continue to suffer greater aggressions and oppressions as Jaipal struggles to maintain some hope in the future. And he has a secret that threatens to destroy any good he manages to create in the crumbling world around him.

Intergenerational trauma is a difficult subject to explore with a fresh perspective. However, with his deeply dimensional protagonists, author Nishant Batsha writes a compelling tale of one family’s struggle to make amends to the past while trying desperately to understand and matter in a future that is not of their own making. The siblings’ stories are so different, yet they are equally about assimilation and protecting one’s cultural identity while attempting to be part of a fast-moving world that they don’t completely understand. This is a tale so efficiently and gorgeously written that you will not be able to put it down. I cared so much about Bhumi and Japial, and pondered their situations so intensely, that I actually dreamed about them as if they were part of my family.

MOTHER OCEAN FATHER NATION is not a diatribe but rather a beautiful testament to the ways in which the human spirit can overcome racism, homophobia, fascism, oppression and the generalized hate that prevents true progress.

Reviewed by Jana Siciliano on July 22, 2022

Mother Ocean Father Nation
by Nishant Batsha

  • Publication Date: June 7, 2022
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco
  • ISBN-10: 0063211785
  • ISBN-13: 9780063211780