Author: Bulbul Sharma
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0670888273
A wonderfully entertaining saga, written with wit, humor and an easy empathy, that moves seamlessly between the real and the imagined.
At the heart of the narrative is Monimala, cranky, eccentric and full hundred years old. As she lies in coma, refusing to die, her daughter keeps silent vigil at her bedside. Into this tableau steps Pia, the youngest member of the family, who uses her great-grandmother's illness as an excuse to leave the US for India. Her mission: to get rid of her unwanted baby, conceived in a moment of passion with her black boyfriend.
What Pia hasn't bargained for is that she will fall madly in love with not one but two men, in the first few days of her arrival in Delhi. One of them, a soft-spoken teacher of yoga with very little to recommend him except his passion for meditation and fantastic physical contortions, and the other a cellphone wielding young man on the fast track, who runs a software firm appropriately named the Soft Brain Centre.
The situation is further complicated by the child in Pia's womb who keeps up a running commentary on the woes of being cloistered in darkness for nine long months, without any say in the matter.
As the novel unfolds, the lives of seven generations of a family come alive, from the tradition-bound times of her grandmother and other elders to the expatriate experience of Pia with her Indiasick father and whiter-than-white mother.
With wit, humor and an easy empathy, the author writes of the many little ways in which women down the ages have escaped into their private worlds of fantasy to elude the ever-present threat of male dominance and in the process created shared spaces of love and companionship.