For once, I am getting ahead of myself. The October Tiffinbooks selection is For Ganesh, Remover of Obstacles, by Sujoya Roy.
Here is a blurb about it:
At the heart of “Ganesh” is a daughter’s quest to uncover her mother’s concealed past. The novel explores the challenges faced by an independent spirit breaking from the rigidity of an ancient culture; the customs that bind families; and the sometimes painful clashes between generations — in this case a mother’s perplexing devotion to tradition versus her daughter’s questioning, modernist ways. Narrated by a contemporary New Yorker of Indian descent, “Ganesh” spans decades and continents, traversing the rise of Gandhi in India, through post-colonialist England into segregated 1950s America. Blending memoir and fiction, the narrative alternates between the current-day, “yuppie” life of a discontented daughter disillusioned with corporate America and the enticing story she discovers of her mother’s extraordinary past as a devotional dancer who defied her family to pursue her dreams.
Incorporating a modern romance and the fanciful love stories of Indian mythology, the story draws on Bharatanatyam, an exotic Indian dance form, as an illuminative subtext to gently decipher a mother, who despite courageous and pioneering accomplishments, fights ghosts that never leave her. What caused a mother to mysteriously escape a prearranged marriage, shirking her duty to her parents? How did she become the first woman at Princeton University? Why does she so guardedly conceal her history? And is her daughter destined to follow in her mother’s rebellious footsteps? In uncovering her mother’s story a daughter is freed of the burdens of expectation, and the vast historical, societal, and cultural disparities that cause conflict between generations are ultimately bridged by recognition of a common spirit.
If you know of other South Asian-American writers or you are a South Asian writer, please contact me at tiffinbooks [at] pipalproductions [dot] com. I would be thrilled to plug your published work here. No charge, except for a review copy for my ever expanding library.
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