First edition.
Publisher, Date:
New York : Picador, 2017.
384 pages ; 22 cm
"In a suburb outside Cleveland, a community of Indian Americans has settled into lives that straddle the divide between Eastern and Western cultures. For some, America is a bewildering and alienating place where coworkers can't pronounce your name but will eagerly repeat the Sanskrit phrases from their yoga class. Harit, a lonely Indian immigrant in his mid-forties, lives with his mother who can no longer function after the death of Harit's sister, Swati. In a misguided attempt to keep both himself and his mother sane, Harit has taken to dressing up in a sari every night to pass himself off as his sister. Meanwhile, Ranjana, also an Indian immigrant in her mid-forties, has just seen her only child, Prashant, off to college. Worried that her husband has begun an affair, she seeks solace by writing paranormal romances in secret. When Harit and Ranjana's paths cross, they begin a strange yet necessary friendship that brings to light their own passions and fears"-- Provided by publisher.
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Author Biography

RAKESH SATYAL is the author of the novel Blue Boy, which won the 2010 Lambda Literary Award for Gay Debut Fiction and the 2010 Prose/Poetry Award from the Association of Asian American Studies. Satyal was a recipient of a 2010 Fellowship in Fiction from the New York Foundation for the Arts and two fellowships from the Norman Mailer Writers' Colony. His writing has appeared in New York magazine, Vulture, Out magazine, and The Awl. A graduate of Princeton University, he has taught in the publishing program at New York University and has been on the advisory committee for the annual PEN World Voices Festival. He lives in Brooklyn. - (McMillan Palgrave)

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Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* After Ranjana's son, Prashant, leaves to become an undergrad at Princeton, she and her husband, Mohan, are alone in their Cleveland home for the first time in 18 years. She secretly writes paranormal romances in the evenings and suspects that Mohan is having an affair. Harit, in his midforties, works in a department store and grieves for his sister, Swati. Harit dresses in Swati's saris in an attempt to connect with his mother, whose eyesight is failing and who has barely functioned since Swati's death. Lonely in their own ways, Ranjana and Harit form an unusual friendship that allows them to grow more than either thought possible. Through his beautifully crafted characters, Satyal's (Blue Boy, 2009) second novel explores identity, sexuality, family, immigrant life, and Indian and American cultures. His writing is both humorous and heart-wrenching while he tells Ranjana's and Harit's stories. He draws every character with such clarity and depth that their lives become vivid to the reader. Satyal expertly describes the everyday struggles that define his characters, and he elevates the extraordinary moments of normal life in this skilled and thought-provoking novel. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Publishers Weekly Reviews

Satyal, the Lambda Award-winning author of Blue Boy, writes evocatively of Indian-American culture in his second novel, set in Cleveland. It revolves around two immigrants: Harit, a middle-aged department store salesman, and Ranjana, the wife of a math professor and mother to an American-born son, Prashant, a freshman at Princeton. Each of these characters struggle with issues of identity. Harit's sister's recent death is such a loss that every night he dons her sari and assumes her identity to give his mother something to live for. The pretense is stifling, yet it awakens his self-awareness. Struggling with empty-nest syndrome and believing that her husband is cheating on her, Ranjana rebels against Indian convention by working outside the home, writing on the sly, and striking up male friendships, including one with Harit. Prashant tries to meet cultural and parental expectations while asserting his independence. Satyal captures his characters' experiences within a close-knit Indian community, rounded out with excellent supporting characters like Harit's mother and Ranjana's husband, who have their own stories to tell, resulting in a vivid, complex tale. (May)

Copyright 2017 Publisher Weekly.


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