From Publishers Weekly
The age-old intergenerational struggle between mothers and daughters gets a curried twist in Pradhan's debut, in which the subcontinent meets the modern West. As children, first-generation Americans Kiran Deshpande, Preity Chawla Lindstrom and Rani McGuiness Tomashot gently mocked their Indian mothers, collectively nicknamed "The Hindi-Bindi Club" for their Old World leanings. Though the three are now successful adults, they aren't necessarily seen as such by their parents. For starters, none married Indian men. But now, Kiran's parents may get their chance to "semi-arrange" a marriage for their divorced daughter as she considers the possibility that there may be something to the old ways. Preity, mostly happily married to business school beau Eric, carries a small torch for a long-lost love—a Muslim her parents didn't approve of—and considers seeking him out. Meanwhile, rocket scientist Rani's passion for art starts to pay off as she becomes spiritually listless. Pradhan's debut is breezy (there are enough recipes dotting the narrative to fill a cookbook), though it touches on not-so sunny issues—prejudice, breast cancer, infidelity. The prose isn't dynamite and the characters are stock, but the novel easily fulfills its ready-made requirements. (May)
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Like Amy Tan's Joy Luck Club
(1988), Pradhan's first novel, which features six alternating narrators, speaks to the cultural and generational tensions between immigrant mothers and their Westernized daughters. Recently divorced Kiran Deshpande, a family doctor who longs for a family of her own, is finally willing to admit that her Indian parents might have been right to disapprove of her marriage to a musician with a wandering eye. She's come home after a long estrangement to discuss with her parents her wish to consider an arranged marriage. Her mother, recently diagnosed with breast cancer, is more than willing to play peacemaker between her authoritarian husband and her headstrong daughter. The narrative also encompasses two other young women, childhood friends of Kiran, and their individual struggles with their parents, including battles with clinical depression and anorexia. Although Pradhan's novel is much lighter than Tan's, her pages are alive with the sights, sounds, and smells (recipes included) of a vibrant Indian culture. In addition, her young characters speak with fresh but cutting humor about the difficulties of assimilation. Joanne WilkinsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved