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Other Waters: A Novel Hardcover – February 14, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


Praise for Other Waters:

“A Jane Austen-ish plot gets a delicious Indian accent in this effervescent novel by former PEOPLE editor Gage . . . in this exotic, mysterious setting, cultures collide, love grows more complicated and Maya finally discovers just whom – and where – she is really meant to be.” --People, reviewed by Caroline Leavitt, four out of four stars

“The sensuous textures in this tale about Maya Das, an Indian-American psychiatry resident, seduced readers.” --Elle

“Can goddesses walk among us? Can an entire family really be cursed? Can a modern woman find her inner goddess? Gage beautifully describes the waters that evoke the transformative moments of Maya’s journey. . . A lovely read.”  --Kirkus

“Gage makes a splendid fiction debut full of believable, fully developed characters and situations and set against exotic backgrounds. Readers who want to be swept away to far-off places will enjoy this book.” --Library Journal

“In a first novel of impressive ambition, this fine young writer dives into deep waters, giving the reader a story that explores the tug of family ties that occasionally feel more like shackles, the legacy of a  culture that both nourishes the soul, and curses it. Writing with assurance and an unblinking eye for the telling detail, Gage explores what it means to be a woman of two cultures, and sometimes of neither. Other Waters is a story that manages to be deeply satisfying in its description of a foreign land and at the same time, universal in what it tells us about family, culture, and the quest—that knows no geographic boundaries—for love.” --Joyce Maynard, New York Times bestselling author of Labor Day

“The best novels are those that invite you into an utterly believable world of entirely authentic people in situations about which you care instantly. Gage's beguiling narrative talent is in splendid evidence in OTHER WATERS, making this fiction debut one of those enthralling novels.”  -- Katharine Weber, author of The Memory of All That, True Confections,and Triangle, among others

“Writing with rich, elegant detail, Eleni N. Gage proves herself an expert and insightful chronicler of both the new India, and of the women whose hearts and minds are caught in the transition.” – Samuel Park author of This Burns My Heart

“Gage has written an appealing story, and she moves between cultures easily; perfectly placed details allow readers to feel comfortable as characters travel between work, home and family (both along the East Coast and in India). Appreciative readers will enjoy Other Waters, and may find themselves looking forward to Gage’s futures works as well . . . An impressive exploration of cultural divides between a young woman and her loves ones in the U.S. and India.” --Shelf Awareness, Reader’s Edition

Praise for North of Ithaka:

"Eleni Gage's prose, like the characters in her ancestral village in Greece, bursts with life. Warm, energetic, and ready for anything, Gage is just the sort of person anyone would want to visit--and when she welcomes you into her grandmother's house, her understanding of the porous boundary between comedy and tragedy grants you pleasure when you laugh and catharsis when you weep." --Anne Fadiman, author of The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down
"Gage's vivid personal account captures the seasonal rhythms and everyday dramas of Greek life beyond the familiar resort islands, revealing a place that is, in the most traditional sense, old world." --Travel + Leisure
"Inbued with forgiveness, with the rebuilding of lives and houses, and moving on from tragedy." -- The Times Literary Supplement
"A brilliant story ... an interesting saga of immigration, belonging, and community." -- The Observer (UK)
"Pleasantly honest, often amusing ... she treats tradition with respect and history with realism." --The Wall Street Journal



About the Author

ELENI N. GAGE writes regularly for InStyle, Real Simple, Travel+Leisure, and Elle, among others, and her work has appeared in The New York Times, and Parade. A graduate of Harvard University and Columbia University’s MFA Program, Eleni now lives in Miami, Florida with her husband.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press (February 14, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312658516
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312658519
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.3 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,946,908 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

The daughter of a Greek father and a Minnesotan mother, Eleni Gage grew up in Athens, Greece, and Worcester, Massachusetts, and has always been fascinated by cultural rituals, traditions, and syncretisms. That interest led her to study Folklore and Mythology at Harvard University as an undergraduate, and, eventually, to earn an equally practical master's degree, an MFA in Creative Writing, Fiction, from Columbia University. It may have also nudged her to marry the first Nicaraguan she ever met, a coffee trader.

Now the Executive Editor of Martha Stewart Weddings magazine and a freelance writer whose travel articles have appeared on the covers of Travel+Leisure, T, Budget Travel, and Town&Country Travel, Eleni has also contributed to Real Simple, the New York Times, Parade, and The American Scholar, and held staff positions at Allure, Elle, InStyle and People magazines. She is the author of the travel memoir North of Ithaka, which describes the year she spent living in a Greek mountain village overseeing the rebuilding of her grandparents' house, and the novel Other Waters, which details the life of Maya Das, an Indian-American psychiatrist who thinks that her family has been cursed, as she struggles to forge a single identity while torn between two cultures. Her upcoming novel, The Ladies of Managua, follows three generations of women, each with her own secret, as they're forced to confront their complicated relationships to each other and to their homeland, Nicaragua. Having spent much of the last decade in Greece, Nicaragua, and Miami, Eleni now lives in New York with her husband and their Greekaraguan daughter.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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She is described with great humor and warmth.
NYC Reader
"Other Waters" is a fascinating trip into the culture of India, utilizing a cast of characters that the reader grows to love or .... You have to read it to decide.
N. Cunningham
I found it very real and even though the ending seems to just end, it worked for me.
bookreader "Melanie"

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Bonnie Brody TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Though Maya was raised in Kalamazoo, Michigan, her family has very strong Hindu Indian values. A graduate of Dartmouth College, Maya is in love with a white man named Scott who is blond and blue-eyed. She knows that her family will not approve of him because he is not an educated Indian so she keeps her relationship a secret from them. She, along with all the other women in her immediate family, is a doctor. Maya's specialty is psychiatry. Thus, when her father returns from India and tells Maya that a curse has been put on her family, she tries to rationalize with herself that this is not possible. However, bad things start to happen to her and her family members. Her sister, Priya, has a miscarriage, her father needs surgery, and Scott breaks up with Maya. Maya is determined to find the person who cursed her family and have the curse removed.

On a larger scale, this book is about the cross-cultural life that Maya lives and her difficulties navigating through one (classic Indian) and the other (mainstream American). As she goes from one aspect of her life to the other, she tries to find her true self. She is very dependent on the approval of her family and her mother in particular. The one person who loved her unconditionally and was fond of telling Maya that she was where she should be is her grandmother, Dadaji. As the book opens, Dadaji is 96 years old and dying. When she does die, Maya feels lost and without her North Star.

The book is rather simplistic and the characters too one-dimensional for me. I think that the writer shows promise and this book is just a starting out point for her. The plot was somewhat interesting but much of it was black and white without a lot of subtleties. I enjoy more complex character-driven novels.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By bookreader "Melanie" on February 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I liked this story. Maya is almost 30 years old, Indian and not yet married. This causes lots of stress and worry for her family who wants to see her settled.
When Maya's dad returns from India saying a curse has been put on their family, Maya pays little attention to it. However, after several bad luck incidents, Maya begins to believe in the power of the curse. She returns to India for a wedding, with the hope that while there, she can have the curse taken back.
I really enjoyed when Maya and her friend visit India. I love books that have exotic descriptions and locales. This gives you a modern day taste of India as seen by a women with both American and Indian roots.
I thought the story would revolve around the curse and removing it, etc, but the story is basically about Maya and her finding the strength to move on to the next step in her life. After ending one relationship with a non-Indian boy, Maya starts one with a man that her family will approve of, but she needs to figure out if this is really the plan she has for her life.
This was a good book. I found it very real and even though the ending seems to just end, it worked for me. It described very real relationship issues that don't always have the happy, fairy tale ending.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Julie A. Smith on February 28, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Maya is a second-year psychiatry resident, an Indian-American who is keeping her long-term relationship with her boyfriend Scott a secret from her parents, especially her mother, who wants nothing more than for her to find a nice Indian boy to settle down with. Her sister Priya married Tariq, who is Indian, but Muslim, and even now, two children later, her mother Seema has still not fully accepted him.

After her grandmother dies in India, her father Ajit, in India to keep an eye on his mom before she died, calls Maya and tells her (somewhat sheepishly, after all, superstitions and curses are not something modern people are supposed to believe in) that Parvati, the woman who lived in Dadyi's home, put a curse on his family. Not just any curse, either, but a Brahman curse - more powerful than most and one that will supposedly affect the blood.

When bad things start happening to Maya's family, she hopes that a trip back to India for a family wedding with her best friend Heidi will give her the chance to find Parvati and counteract the curse that by now, Maya at least halfway believes in.

For me, this novel got off to a confusing start, but soon smoothed itself out. I enjoyed the cross-cultural references and the friendship between Maya and Heidi, as well as the true-to-life relationship between Maya and her family. I found myself quite a bit peeved at Maya for not introducing Scott to her family - after all, they'd been together, off and on, for seven years. It seemed to me that an intelligent woman of almost thirty should simply square her shoulders up and take any heat that she might get from her family.

The ending kind of just ... ended, but in a way that I didn't fully expect.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amber Polo on February 21, 2012
Format: Hardcover
A good read for the romance reader in the mood for a more realistic view of love and commitment. Ms. Gage offers a good balance of conflict between family, career, and relationships with depth and sensitivity for every character. Both scenes in NYC and India came alive with color and culture.

I especially loved the Bollywood references and want to be invited to a Bollywood themed Indian wedding. Still trying to remember the name of the Jane Austin takeoff Bollywood movie, so I can watch it again.
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