Shilpi Somaya Gowda
William Morrow, 2011 (2010)
Hardcover, Softcover, e-Book
Read an Excerpt
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
hilpi Somaya Gowda's
is a novel about the ties that bind families together - and the stresses that stretch those bindings - in the context of infertility, adoption, and the lengths that rural Indian families will go to to ensure they have sons.
earing a second daughter in a small Indian village (after her husband disposed of their first female child), a desperate Kavita and her sister Rupa make the long trek to take the newborn to a Mumbai orphanage. Kavita leaves her baby there, but never forgets the
merican pediatrician Somer is married to neurosurgeon Krishnan (whom she met in med school at Stanford) but is unable to bear a child. After suffering miscarriages and being diagnosed with early menopause, she makes a painful decision to adopt. Krishnan's mother Sarla has connections to the Mumbai orphanage where Usha was left, and where they find their new daughter, Asha.
sha grows up in America, developing a passion for journalism. This takes her back to India on fellowship to do a story on children living in poverty. She stays with (and gets to know) her father's family in Bombay and interviews women and children in Dharavi ('
the largest slum in Mumbai
'), where unbeknownst to Asha her birth parents lived, after they moved to the city with their small son Vijay.
omer and Krishnan grow apart, but Somer's newfound independence and their mutual love for Asha bring them together again - and draw them both to India and a new understanding. Asha realizes what her life might have been as she documents the '
strength of human spirit
' of the slum's mothers. She learns to value her own mother. She also seeks her birth parents, but loses the trail at the orphanage, where she leaves a letter, just in case.
is a lovely read. It shows generations of two families as they make mistakes, but learn from them, and grow older and wiser. Don't miss this one.
Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.
Find more Contemporary books on our
or in our book