*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.