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A Good Indian Wife: A Novel Paperback – June 8, 2009
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Engaging and thought provoking; a combination of India and America, tradition and modernity, oneness and individuality. I couldn’t put this book down. (Story Circle Book Reviews)
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Top Customer Reviews
Of course nothing is ever as simple as it appears. While Leila adapts to the idea of the exciting adventures awaiting her in America, Neel has other problems; he has a tangled past, unfinished business only made more complicated by his marriage. There is a long-term girlfriend waiting in San Francisco, Neel's life far removed from the Indian childhood he left behind. Success has allowed unexpected freedoms on the West Coast, including a blonde beauty far from the conventional standards of his family's expectations. Meanwhile, Leila has no idea why her romantic dreams fail to reach fruition, Neel withdrawn and uncommunicative, juggling the real-time problems of married life with a demanding girlfriend who has long harbored her own fantasies of the future.Read more ›
I loved "being" in India and, though some readers might trip over Cherian's use of foreign language, I found it lovely to deduce the meanings (more than once, I found myself salivating over the detailed descriptions of Indian food). And I loved being in 1980's San Francisco (in fact, having lived there then, I found the rendering mightily evocative.)
The novel is indeed Jane-Austinish, particularly in the slowly-evolving opening and the "who's marrying whom?" mystery, but it takes off in the middle and is a real nail-biter all the way to the last page. If you like Austin but want a break from 19th-century England, this is quite a treat. The novel cries out for a sequel -- I long to see what happens as Leila becomes ever more self-confident and independent in her new country.
The author clings to the extreme cliches about the two cultures she depicts - American and Indian. Although her ability to write from both perspectives is impressive, her lack of ability to go beyond the superficial routine cliches is not. MUST Neel be the extreme wanting to be all-American villager-Indian, MUST Liela (his imported wife) be the typical on-the-shelf-desperately-waiting-be-married woman, and MUST the American secretary (Caroline) that Neel is having an affair with be the gold-digger-wanting-to-marry-a-rich-doctor Midwestern from a red-neck family? There are too many, way too many, shades of cultures in both India and America, to look at this story as anything but simple minded. I kept reading this book because the author can write a reasonably flowing (albeit simplistic) prose, but mostly because I was hoping for a less typical ending.
I kept waiting for the story to take a turn where the all-but-deserted Liela takes charge of her life and flowers into an independent individual, leaving her so-called husband behind. But of course that does not happen, and the story unconvincingly leads to a deterministic ending living up to the cliches that this book is full of.Read more ›
"A Good Indian Wife" is what Leila Krishnan yearns to be. She lives in rural India, and teaches English: although intelligent, well-raised, tall and lovely, her parents are comparatively poor and can offer no dowry with her, so she hasn't been able to marry. This has further disastrous economic effects upon her and her family. But her parents do love her, and she has loving relations with two younger sisters.
Dr. Suneel Sarath is handsome, tall and ambitious. He has an American education and veneer; a job as an anesthesiologist in a San Francisco hospital; a small condo overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge; part ownership of a small plane, and a very nice car. And Caroline, a tall, blond, long-legged, beautiful, ambitious American hospital secretary girlfriend. But no wife. And you can remember what Jane Austen, that world-renowned 18th-19th century British author, once said about well-to-do men needing wives? Well, so you can see where this is going, can't you? Neel (he's Americanized, and prefers to be called by that variant of his name) is tricked into another visit back to his Indian family, and before he knows what's hit, he's returning to the States with Leila as his bride.
There can be no doubt that the book is chick lit lite. Still, it's nicely written; quite informative on the subject of arranged marriages.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I’ve had a rather difficult time coming up with a rating for A Good Indian Wife by Anne Cherian. On one hand, once I got into the story, I couldn’t stop thinking about it and what... Read morePublished 12 days ago by Katie Tuccelli
Delightful AND a quick read! This read to me a bit like chick lit, but with more substance and less frou frou. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Lowly Peon
I enjoyed this book & enjoy reading novels about Indian culture set both in India & expat Indian lives elsewhere . Read morePublished 2 months ago by Sharebeauty
Unusual, moving story of Indian immigrants who've come to America. Cherian is not afraid to tackle immigrant issues such as fear of not fitting in and most surprisingly, self... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
predictable but enjoyable - her husband was a real jerk but I knew it would be okay in the end - he's lucky
she was so tolerant - I've read several Indian culture novels -... Read more
I just liked the book very much. Indian culture is different and interesting. A good mix of modern day and the past and arranged marriages. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Charlotte
Although Cherian's debut novel started out promisingly enough, it proved a disappointment. None of the main characters were engaging or likeable. Read morePublished 7 months ago by STARGAZER