Monday, September 16, 2013

Reading Lists - Stories of India

The Space Between Us by Thrity N. Umrigar – The author vividly captures the social struggles of modern India in a luminous, readable novel of honor, tradition, class, gender, and family. This is a portrayal of two women discovering an emotional rapport as they struggle against the confines of a rigid caste system, which may ultimately tear apart the bonds they share.

Dark Road to Darjeeling by Deanna Raybourn - Lady Julia Grey and her detective husband hurry to India to aid an old friend, the newly widowed Jane Cavendish. Jane is consumed with discovering the truth about her husband's death. Was he murdered for his estate? And if he was, could Jane and her unborn child be next?

Shadow Princess by Indu Sundaresan – The author returns to seventeenth-century India, as two princesses struggle for supremacy of their father’s kingdom. Trapped in the shadow of the magnificent tomb their grief-stricken father is building for his beloved deceased wife, the Taj Mahal, the emperor’s daughters compete for everything: control over the imperial harem, their father’s affection, and the future of their country.

Serious Men: A Novel by Joseph Manu - Ayyan Mani will not be constrained by Indian traditions. Despite working at the Institute of Theory and Research in Mumbai as the lowly personal assistant to a brilliant but insufferable astronomer, he dreams of more for himself and his family.
Ever wily and ambitious, Ayyan weaves two plots: the first to cheer up his weary, soap-opera-addicted wife by creating outrageous fictions around their ten-year-old son; the other to sabotage the married director by using his boss’s seeming romance with the institute’s first female—and very attractive—researcher.

The Pleasure Seekers: A Novel by Tishani Doshi - Meet the Patel-Joneses—Babo, Sian, Mayuri, and Bean—in their little house with orange and black gates next door to the Punjab Women's Association in Madras. Babo grew up here, but he and Sian, his cream-skinned Welsh love, met in London. Babo's parents disapproved. And then they disapproved unless the couple moved back to Madras. So here they are. And as the twentieth century creaks and croaks its way along, Babo, Sian, and the children navigate their way through the uncharted territory of a "hybrid" family.

East of the Sun: A Novel by Julia Gregson - As the Kaisar-I-Hind weighs anchor for Bombay in the autumn of 1928, its passengers ponder their fate in a distant land. They are part of the “Fishing Fleet”—the name given to the legions of English women who sail to India each year in search of husbands, heedless of the life that awaits them. The inexperienced chaperone Viva Holloway has been entrusted to watch over three unsettling charges. There’s Rose, as beautiful as she is naïve, who plans to marry a cavalry officer she has met a mere handful of times. Her bridesmaid, Victoria, is hell-bent on losing her virginity en route before finding a husband of her own. And shadowing them all is the malevolent presence of a disturbed schoolboy named Guy Glover.

The Marriage Bureau for Rich People by Farahad Zama - Bored with retirement, Mr. Ali sets up a desk, puts up a sign, and waits for customers for his new matchmaking business. Some clients are a mystery. Some are a challenge. Mr. Ali's assistant, Aruna, finds it a learning experience. But without a dowry, Aruna has no expectation of a match for herself. Then again, as people go about planning their lives, sometimes fate is making other arrangements.

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