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The Leaving of Things Paperback – April 25, 2013

4.3 out of 5 stars 466 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Amazon Expert Reviews:

"Bravo!" 

"A beautifully written coming-of-age story placed in an Indian landscape."

"India comes alive, even for the uninitiated. The daily life, smells, culture of food, and personal relationships flourish while the reader follows a coming of age story ... The richness of this story is in the details of Indian life, the nuances of the culture, the reality of how much easier life is in America. [*The Leaving of Things*] tells a well-worn story of growing up, rendered beautifully, in a seductive setting.” --Publishers Weekly (ABNA Quarterfinal Review of Manuscript)

(Five star review) "A delightful ride! One of the best novels I have read recently." -- Maria Beltran, Readers' Favorite Book Reviews and Award Contest

Consistently mesmerizing! It overflows with a joie de vivre that holds the attention of the reader to the last page. THE LEAVING OF THINGS is a major success for a debut novel." --Grady Harp, Amazon Top 50 Reviewer

(Five star review) "Dazzling ... Antani's prose will sweep readers off in a whirlwind of imagination. With solid prose, beautiful scenery and brilliant characters, Antani's first novel will give readers a heavy book-hangover at its conclusion." -- Nathanial Garrod, Portland Book Review

About the Author

Jay Antani is a Los Angeles-based film journalist, fiction writer, and graphic novelist. Jay's film articles and reviews have appeared in Paste Magazine, Moving Pictures, Boxoffice Magazine and many others as well as on his own blog, Cinema Writer. Jay also wrote The Mysterians, a sci-fi fantasy graphic novel published in 2008 by TokyoPop. The Leaving of Things is Jay's first novel. To learn more or contact Jay, visit jayantani.com
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Bandwagon Press (April 25, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0988419300
  • ISBN-13: 978-0988419308
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (466 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,277,532 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read THE LEAVING OF THINGS over the course of what turned out to be a very enjoyable weekend. At 360 pages, the story was rich and deep enough to lose myself in, and its teenaged hero, Vikram, spoke with an authentic, intimate voice that immediately drew me in and kept me hooked until the end.

"India wasted no time with me," Vik confides on page one, and the story takes off. Vik's predicament is uniquely compelling: he is an Indian-American teenager who spent most of his childhood in Wisconsin, USA, and now must move to India for college. The story recalls other great depictions of the immigrant experience--as I read, the work of Jhumpa Lahiri and Junot Diaz came to mind--yet THE LEAVING OF THINGS cleverly turns this familiar story on its head. The book asks, What is it like to be an "other" in the Old World? How does it feel to move from the land of McDonald's and Madonna to that of khari puri and Bollywood?

Throughout the novel, writer Jay Antani explores complex questions of racial, cultural, and national identity with thoughtfulness and grace. As Americans, we may be accustomed to visiting other countries as tourists, viewing foreign cultures and customs through the lens of orientalist exoticism or simple curiosity. And other works of literature have shown us India as experienced by its natives. In THE LEAVING OF THINGS, however, we see India through the eyes of an American kid who is neither a tourist nor a local, an Indian kid who should belong but doesn't. An Indian who is not Indian, an American who is not American, Vik struggles to find his place in this strange and fluid universe, and the stakes are high.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
By coincidence, if you believe in such things, I was given a copy of the Pulitzer Prize winning short story collection Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri just a couple of months before I read The Leaving of Things. This, too, was by a young Indian American and showed readers India through a very special lens. I can say without hesitation, that I enjoyed this book just as much. I thought it was as rich, as engaging and as thought-provoking.

I felt like I'd visited India, like I was one of the many flies on the wall, like I loved and hated it as much as the young teen who was uprooted from rock music and winter snow and fun on the lake and an American girlfriend and dropped unceremoniously into another world where bribes were the modus operandi for everything from getting into a good school to getting buildings constructed and seeing children defecating outdoors was the usual. And yet, at the same time, I could see why there was love for the land he was from and not of. This was a tribute to the amazingly deft hand and eye that author Antani used to create this work, because his photographer character, like he himself, sees things differently.

It is a beautiful book. If you can, read it like I did, while eating a meal that includes shahi paneer and samosa and pakora with a mango lassi on the side. And if you get a little curry on the pages, you did it just right.
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This book is about two brothers who grew up in the U.S. (it focuses on the older brother, Vik) but are not American citizens. They had to move around the U.S. a lot because of their father's job. Vik finally settles down in Wisconsin, as his family stays there for an extended period of time. He has real friends and a girlfriend. It is right before college that he learns that his father wants to move back to India with the family. As the two children are not citizens, they have no choice but to follow, despite the fact that Vik is now an adult. Once in India, Vik finds he loses touch with his friends, his girlfriend breaks up with him, and he doesn't think he can pursue art school like he once wanted to. However, when his father realizes Vik's heart is in America, Vik and his father find a way to get him back to Wisconsin.

I gave the book three stars for a few reasons. First off, there were a lot of typos, which drive me crazy. Secondly, by the end of the first week, beginning of the second week there, Vik was navigating his own way around India. His dad even got him a scooter to get around. Vik enrolled in college in India and all was well despite his desire to return to the US. This is the part of the book that I thought was unrealistic. Vik's younger brother easily adapted to India and it's educational system and eccentricities. However, kids have a greater capacity to adapt. I remember visiting India as a kid. I also remember visiting as an adult. Despite speaking the local language, I could not get around on my own without getting lost. I could not adapt to non-bottled water and street food. Vik did get sick at one point, but they portrayed him as fitting right in as soon as he got over his illness. There are a lot of challenges to living in India.
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Format: Kindle Edition
* Contains spoilers!

I was wholeheartedly looking forward to reading Jay Antani’s “The Leaving of Things,” with the premise of the story being very similar to what I had experienced as a young girl myself. The main character, Vikram Mistry is the Americanized son of Indian immigrants, and after spending much of his life in the States, his family is uprooted and they return back to India. But in the first chapter alone, I was thoroughly disappointed to find an unlikable and whiny teenager narrating this promising story with a pretty book cover.

The novel opens up with Vikram and his family in Bombay’s airport, patiently waiting to go through customs and ultimately boarding their final flight to Ahmadabad where they were to permanently reside. I wanted to like Vikram, especially since his experience of returning to his parent’s homeland was so similar to what I had experienced as a young girl when my parents took us back to Pakistan. I felt his fear, his isolation from the familiar world left behind in the States. But the truth was Vikram established himself as a selfish and over-dramatic teenager from the start and it never quite changed until the end of the book.

Another aspect that bothered me about Vikram was his obsession with his friends and girlfriend back home. Every thought, every revelation came back to thoughts of them, and after a while became annoying. His relationship with his girlfriend Shannon did not seem genuine either, and lacked any sense of true feeling. Whenever he longed for her or missed her, I didn’t believe him. And so, when they inevitably breakup because of the distance, I felt no remorse or sadness for him either.
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