I'm a great fan of Indian authors but this one was a little predictable and formulaic for my liking.
I absolutely loved this book. I was hooked from the first page. I figured this would be something I would leisurely read over the course of a couple weeks, but this smacked me upside the head and kept my nose buried in it. I finished it in a day and a half, totally ignoring responsibilities and conversations. And sleep.
This book is beautifully written--she weaves an entire novel out of a long-delayed visit back to India and the making of mango pickles over the course of a few days. It is written beautifully, and there is honest-to-goodness suspense. I found myself gripping the edges of the book as I read. Part of me wanted to blast my way through this to see what happened, but I forced myself to slow down and enjoy the beautiful flow of the writing. The characters are strong and vivid, and the main character Priya is compelling and likable without being anywhere near a stereotype (at least in my opinion). My mind kept skirting ahead, trying to figure out what she would do or say next, and I wasn't able to predict what would happen. And the book is written with humor and fun, which helps temper the serious issues of loyalty to one's family vs. loyalty to your heart.
I read A Breath Of Fresh Air ages ago, and it haunts me even to this day, but it never occurred to me to pick up more from the author (I chose this without realizing she wrote both novels) because (if I remember correctly) the tone of that novel was much more severe, which was part of its impact. But this book strikes a wonderful balance between wit and sincerity. This is one of my very favorite books, and I'm scrambling to get my hands on her other book.
I enjoyed this book despite its predictability. It made for a easy read by the pool and I was happy with it until the last 5 or so pages. I couldn't even finish the book because of the author throwing in a last-minute "twist." I found it stupid and rediculous for the author to even attempt to throw the main character a bit of a curve-ball at the end. She should have just ended it and been done.
I enjoyed the story although it was a bit over the top and similar to young adult fiction at times. This is the story of an Indian born woman living in America who goes back to her homeland for a visit. The conservative Indian relatives want to set her up with an eligible Indian man, but she conveniently forgets to tell them she has an American fiance back in San Francisco. She has to decide whether she wants to conform to centuries old traditions or make a break from tradition.
I've read a lot of stories by Indian and Indian American authors so I could figure out some of the words used and sometimes the context was enough to determine what the word was. The author sprinkled delicious recipes throughout the story and that was an added bonus. This is a decent book though melodramatic at times. It's a good book for someone who wants to understand Indian culture better.